Currently, security systems have been set on a high alert, with President Uhuru issuing a directive to all homeland security apparatus on 12th November 2021 to heighten vigilance and surveillance in the country.
This had been preceded by the posting of bounty on five wanted ISCAP and Al-Shabaab terror suspects by DCI on 9th November 2021.
Al-Qaeda- Harakat Al-Shabaab Al Mujahideen (HSM) has continued to fade out to soft target attacks on Kenya's northern prefecture greatly attributed to logistical strives in the mother Al-Qaeda jihadist group, but are we off the hook yet?
There have been reports of a mass exodus from Al-Shabaab fighters crossing over to the IS Central Africa Wilayat, Islamic State of Central African Province (ISCAP), this meaning the Islamic State benefits from already trained fighters.
Islamic State seems to be on their signature expansionist agenda of creating a caliphate in Africa with a new special target on East Africa which was previously a 'territory of Al-Qaeda'.
On 16th November 2021, Islamic State of Central Africa Province (ISCAP) conducted and claimed responsibility for twin IED attacks in Uganda's capital, Kampala targeting among them Uganda police administrative headquarters, this came a few weeks after ISCAP conducted attacks in Uganda twice using local militia, Allied Defence Forces (ADF).
Tanzania too has not been left unscathed with ISCAP staging attacks in coastal towns of Tanzania late last year.
Above are indicators of ACTIVE expansion of ISCAP east eastwards from Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo into East Africa.
A close monitor on Islamic State in Africa, they seem to have adopted a model of setting base in Africa, assimilation of the local militias and organized criminal gang.
In the West African region, they assimilated Boko Haram to the formation of Islamic State of Western African Province (ISWAP) before leadership wrangles and reverts of a section back to Boko Haram,
In Sahel region, they assimilated local militants under Movement for oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) to form Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS),
In Mozambique they assimilated a local radical religious group, Ahlu Sunnah wal- Jamaa (ASWJ) to form the Islamic State of Central African Province (ISCAP), In Uganda, they are using a local organized militia Allied Defence forces (ADF) to back ISCAP's Baluku faction to expand to Uganda.
With the above consistency of operation, Kenya should be very wary of local organized criminal gangs especially in the coastal region like Wakali wao, wakali kwanza and others (which have a history of harbouring Shabaab returnees), they stand very fertile grounds for recruitment, assimilation and formation of terror cells in Kenya.
Even as all security alarms are set off, all alert lights blinking RED in Kenya, there is a fresh thorn in our counter-terror efforts, Criminal Justice system handling of terror suspects.
The US seems to have adopted a National Security Strategy on jihadist threats. With a flowery term- justified homicide and targeted killings, this has become a central strategy to US counterterrorism efforts.
War against terrorism can only be described as asymmetrical warfare with no formal terms of engagement.
When we were young boys, we used to say "hakuna mateke ya tumbo na tichwa" and the fight would be fair, purely symmetrical.
Is it the case in the fight against terrorism? No!
Terror suspects should be handled differently.
We have been treating terror suspects normally, and they have continued to treat us abnormally.
The Englishmen say there is no honour among thieves and so are terrorists. They honour nothing; they don't operate under formal structures of fear.
A judge gives a suspect bail as part of human and constitutional rights and they escape to conduct more attacks, you incarcerate a terror suspect in maximum security prison like normal convicts and they bribe their way out.
We need to change tact and be alive to the fact that terrorism is a special kind of crime, a terrorist is not your usual criminal.
Maybe we need to answer the following questions;
Are we more democratic than the US? Are we better respecters of human rights more than the US?
All said and done, let's stay vigilant, extra vigilant.
The times are different, alarm lights continue to blink RED.
By Kiyo Nganga, Criminologist and Security Expert.
Head of Strategic Services, Armistice Security Consult International