Published On: Wed, Aug 17th, 2016

Al Shabaab recruiters in Kenya target new regions

Al-Shabaab recruiters in Kenya have shifted their activities from Nairobi and Mombasa to Rift Valley and the western region while also operating within the prisons system, a new report says.

In addition, the terrorist group’s agents are placing “growing emphasis on recruiting girls and young women”, the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (Igad) says in the report.
Along with these efforts, sympathisers are organising themselves via social media, it says.

Titled Al-Shabaab as a Transnational Security Threat, the study traces the group’s spread beyond Somalia in the six years since it bombed World Cup viewing parties in Kampala, Uganda, killing 74 people.

Besides Somalia, Al-Shabaab has carried out attacks in Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Djibouti. The study is dated March 2016 and does not cover developments this year such as the attack on a Kenya Defence Forces camp at El Adde in Somalia.

Al-Hijra, Al-Shabaab’s Kenyan affiliate, has “experienced growing pressure from the security services and suffered a steady attrition of its leadership,” the report says. This has prompted al-Hijra to set up safe houses in Eldoret, Naivasha, Nakuru and other centres.

(READ: Police link youths’ disappearance to Shabaab recruitment )

“Al-Hijra also continues to operate, radicalise and recruit within Kenya’s prisons system. Despite their incarceration, senior members have been able to assist in the facilitation of individuals looking to join Al-Shabaab, or more recently seeking to join the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (Isis).”

CROSSED THE BORDER

“Al-Hijra and its affiliates in Kenya and Tanzania have sent hundreds, possibly thousands of extremists to fight alongside al-Shabaab in Somalia.” Igad says.

Meanwhile, the government is searching for six young men, who disappeared in Isiolo County last week and are suspected to have joined Al-Shabaab. This brings to 31 youth, who have crossed border to join the group.

Police said terrorists had changed routes from Mandera to Isiolo through Moyale and Marsabit towns, while others pass through Wajir and Garissa to Isiolo on transit to Nairobi and other counties.

KDF soldiers and police have been posted on the Moyale-Isiolo highway following reports of active Al-Shabaab cells in the area.

Two video dens in Isiolo are at the centre of the investigation.

Following a public outcry over increased recruitment of youth, Governor Godana Doyo, County Commissioner George Natembeya and religious leaders yesterday held a meeting with residents.

“Isiolo is considered a transit point by terrorists on their way to Nairobi and other counties, but we have intensified efforts to stop them,” said Mr Natembeya.

He said some refugees from Daadab camp in Garissa seeking to avoid repatriation had moved to Isiolo and were recruiting youth into Al-Shabaab. The meeting followed the arrest of two terror suspects in Bulla Pesa Estate.

Daily Nation

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