President Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenya’s President has indicated the country’s plans to set up a new special prison for violent extremist offenders. Kenya’s anti terror law allows security forces detain people who are suspected of terrorist activities for long periods without charge. With the growing incidence of home-grown militants, the President sees this as one way of effectively dissuading people from adopting the extremist ideology that most terrorists run with.
A number of attacks over the years which Kenyan’s have depicted as revenge attacks by Islamist group Al-Shabab for Kenya’s role in fighting the terrorists in neighboring Somalia, have made the people agitate for a halt in outside peace keeping efforts. One man whose son died in the April 2015 attack on Garissa university that saw 147 killed, suggested that;
“They should withdraw so we can look for peace…If they don’t withdraw then [Shabaab] will be coming [to attack] here; we will be going [to attack] there; they will be coming [to attack] here — this kind of revenge might persist for a very long time,”.
The President might not have taken that particular passionate advice as Kenya still contributes up to 4,000 troops to the 22,000 strong African Union force that is in Somalia helping the UN-backed government battle al-Shabab, but President Kenyatta, has however shown with this plan that he is concerned about home-grown militants linked to the Islamist group al-Shabab. He spoke at a passing out parade of over 2000 wardens, and shared that more money would be provided to meet logistical and operational needs of the prison service.
Kenyan prisons and correctional facilities have been described as inhumane many times in the past, with heavily overpopulated spaces and almost no basic amenities. It is still unclear when and where this new prison will be set up, but wouldn’t it be funny if terrorist prisoners actually got the nicest digs. All the same, we applaud the efforts of the President and hope that the aim of reducing indoctrination of new terrorists will be achieved.