Kenya, civil society launch platform to curb violent extremism

Source: Xinhua| 2018-09-05 21:29:52|Editor: Yurou
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NAIROBI, Sept. 5 (Xinhua) -- Kenya and the civil society organization on Wednesday launched a platform to curb violent extremism.

Mutuma Ruteere, the director of the Center for Human Rights and Policy Studies (CHRIPS), told a media briefing in Nairobi that the government funded Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Research Hub will enhance the response to the changing threat of violent extremism.

"The CVE Research Hub is a worthwhile investment as it will provide research information and data to policy actors working on this field with the overall goal to improve national security," Ruteere said.

He said the online platform is designed as a one-stop shop for researchers and policy actors working on CVE in Kenya to support and facilitate high-quality research, and evidence-based policy work to curb the problem.

"Currently one of the biggest problems in reducing the threat of terrorism is the lack of up to date data on emerging trends in attacks, radicalization and recruitment," he added.

He noted that violent extremism is a national, regional and global challenge due to its complex nature in terms of drivers for the vice.

Ruteere added that the terror threat is constantly evolving making it difficult to develop effective response mechanisms.

The CHRIPS director said they have witnessed an increase in online recruitment of terrorists yet there are not enough tools that government can use to curb use of technology to conduct terror attacks.

He said Kenya's military approach has resulted in the reduction of the Somalia-based terror group, al-Shabab's capabilities to conduct terror activities except in Kenya-Somalia border towns.

Patrick Mutahi, a research fellow at the CHRIPS, said the threat of violent extremism can only be reduced through closer collaboration between security agencies and local communities.

Mutahi said terrorism is a complex problem which a single strategy is not sufficient enough to eliminate.

He noted that terror groups often use ideological reasons to gain new recruits in their violent campaign.

The research fellow observed that other ways that terrorist organizations gain followers is to make false promise of jobs or quick riches.

The research fellow said that the most important response to violent extremism should be to address the root cause of the vice.

He called for strengthening of the partnership between state agencies and civil society through sharing of information on violent extremism.

In order to accelerate the progress toward eliminating the security threat, CHRIPS recommends continuous monitoring of the trends in terror attacks and activities.

Mutahi said that in Kenya, the major challenge of terrorism has been the al-Shabab which has routinely launched attacks in both the border regions and urban areas.

He observed that violent extremism is more prevalent in the coastal and northeastern regions where it has also emerged as a social problem for communities and families that have seen their young men and women embrace the extremist ideologies.

Mutahi said one step to reduce the likelihood of youth from being victims of online radicalization and recruitment is to increase employment opportunities for the young adults.