Don’t lower guard in war against terrorism


Heavy smoke is seen from the Westgate Mall in Nairobi where terrorists have been holding people hostage. FILE PHOTO | NMG

A decade after the September 21, 2013 attack at the Westgate Mall, the threat of terrorism remains alive. Memories of the attack, whose anniversary was marked yesterday, should serve as a reminder that we must not lower our guard.

Over the years, the government has invested billions of shillings in high-tech surveillance systems to improve its intelligence-gathering capability.

To its credit, the State has succeeded in thwarting attacks in urban centres, especially Nairobi and other cities. This has in turn, given investors confidence to continue investing in these areas, spurring greater development.

Yet while it succeeds in stopping attacks in these high-density areas, active terror cells in neighbouring Somalia and parts of northern Kenya have continued their campaign of terror in remote regions such as Lamu, Mandera, and Garissa. Residents and investors in those areas live in fear.

The attacks have slowed economic activities as terrorists occasionally attack road travellers and retreat into the bush. As a result, much-needed skilled workers such as teachers have been leaving the areas in droves.

These areas deserve equal security treatment as urban areas.