People gather to commemorate the first anniversary of the Westgate attack, Sept. 21, 2014. A group of masked gunmen stormed the upscale Westgate shopping mall on Sept. 21, 2013, killing 68 civilians. (Xinhua/Zhangchen)
NAIROBI, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) -- Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has said that the country's counter-terrorism strategy is paying off with reduced number of terror incidents being recorded in 2016.
Kenyatta said last week only 16 people died last year as a result of the terror incidents staged by Somalia Islamist militants, Al-Shabaab, as compared to the 202 who died in 2015.
"There has been significant progress in counter-terrorism arising from enhanced capacity. These emanated from terrorism and other forms of organized crime, which required innovative ways to tackle," Kenyatta said at a ceremony to receive 500 police vehicles meant to stabilize security in the country.
The East African nation has experienced a spate of terrorist attacks since its troops entered Somalia in 2011 to flush out Al-Qaeda linked terrorist network, Al-Shabaab.
The militants were responsible for a siege in Nairobi's upscale Westgate shopping mall in September 2013 where they killed 68 civilians.
The year 2014 also marked an escalation of Al-Shabaab attacks in the coast and northeastern region where dozens of civilians lost their lives.
Police statistics show some 45 incidents were reported in 2014 that left 70 people dead and 78 injured. In April 2015, the militants again raided Garissa University campus where they killed 147 students.
"The year 2015 was particularly darkened by the Garissa University attack," he said, noting that the reduction in the incidents is attributed to combined efforts by security agencies in the country.
According to a recent report from Kenya's security agencies, hundreds of youth have been intercepted on their way to Somalia to join Al-Shabaab since 2015.
The report disclosed that in the last one year, 100 Kenyan youth have defected from Al-Shabaab and are gradually being integrated in the community.
The Kenyan leader said they have invested heavily in the security services to ensure they work safely for the safety of Kenyans.
He said a total of 260 million U.S. dollars has been invested in various police equipment and medical insurance scheme to address their needs since 2013.
Crime incidents rose to 76,986 in 2016 as compared to 72,490 of 2015, 69,372 of 2014 and 71,832 of 2013.
He said robbery cases dropped to 2,667 in 2016 as compared to the 3,551 in 2013 while theft of motor vehicles declined to 1,355 in 2016 as compared to the 1,631 of 2013.
Kenyatta said reporting of crime incidents increased due to various issues hence the rise in terms of numbers, which included presence of police.
He said crime reduced in Nairobi County due to various factors including the use of CCTV cameras at various places.
He said robbery cases in Nairobi alone reduced to 295 in 2016 as compared to 436 of 2014 while theft of motor vehicles dropped to 195 last year as compared to 340 of 2014.
Cases of mugging reduced to 992 in 2016 as compared to the 1,360 of 2014.
The president said the government is constructing the first phase of 1,500 housing units for police and would be completed by end of this year.
The second phase comprising of 4,800 units will be commenced later on, he said. It is not clear at what cost and who is constructing the units.
The security officers say the East African nation is playing a pivotal role in ensuring that terrorism and other forms of criminal activities threatening the country's security were minimized if not eliminated.
Al-Shabaab militants have vowed to attack Nairobi after the east African nation entered southern Somalia in 2011 to flush out the insurgents it blamed for kidnappings of tourists.
Kenya has more than 4,000 troops in the 22,000-strong AU force in Somalia helping the UN-backed government battle Al-Shabaab, which is part of the Al-Qaeda allied terror network.
Al-Shabaab has said it views the presence of Kenyan troops in southern Somalia as an act of war and has vowed an all-out war in Kenya, in protest against the military incursion "against our brothers in Somalia."