Kenya opens regional conference to counter violent extremism

Uhuru Kenyatta
Uhuru Kenyatta

State officials, diplomats and security experts from some 40 countries attending a regional conference on countering violent extremism in Nairobi on Thursday called on international community to rise above sectarian and ideological divide to reboot the war against terrorism.


“Violent extremism is the most pressing threat of our time. It fuels the spread of terrorism, mindless hate and divisiveness,” Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto told the three-day conference.
He said the international community must speak with one voice in order to disrupt and degrade terrorist infrastructure that has mutated rapidly this decade.
Ruto noted that terrorists were motivated by a desire to destabilize civil order and drive a wedge among citizens from different ethnic, racial and religious affiliation.
“Globally, radicalization of young people has flourished as terrorist networks recruit them to execute an evil agenda. We must
find appropriate ways to counter their message,” he said, noting that security in the country has been heightened to curb the spread of extremist ideology and activities.
Ruto said Kenya is at the forefront of the war to resist and defeat extremism and called for international cooperation in the war on terror to curb the threat of violent extremism spreading to previously unaffected nations.
Kenya hosted the conference against a backdrop of rapid spread of radical ideologies that have fuelled terrorism in the coast and northeastern parts of the country.
Ruto said that Kenya has retooled its counter-terrorism measures against a backdrop of grave threats from Somalia-based militant group, Al-Shabaab.
“Our aim is to sustain a robust conversation on how to respond to an enemy that has sunk to the lowest levels of depravity. We must unite in this new threat to global order,” said Ruto. “Foreign fighters from far afield, some from Europe, are in the field here in the Horn of Africa. If they escape our security forces, they will return to their countries of origin to pursue what they have brutally sought here.”
The deputy president called on security agencies and the society to monitor institutions known to create grounds for radicalization.
Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Internal Security, Joseph Nkaissery said Kenya pledged to convene a regional conference on countering violent extremism as the country is a frontline state on the global war against terrorism.
Nkaissery noted that geographical, social and demographic factors have worsened Kenya’s vulnerability to terrorism.
“The radical groups have penetrated protected spaces like refugee camps, mosques and learning institutions to propagate violent extremism,” Nkaissery said.
He urged the international community to strengthen efforts to pacify Somalia in order to stem the flow of Al-Shabaab militants into the Kenyan territory.
Sahle-Work Zewde, Director General with United Nations Offices in Nairobi said that strategic partnerships were crucial to win the fight against terrorism.
“The UN attaches great value to peace and security in the east and horn of Africa region where the threat of terrorism is real. We aim to establish resilient and tolerant communities to deny merchants of death any foothold,” Work-Zewde said, adding that regional cooperation, development of social amenities and good governance will boost the war against terrorism. Enditem

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