Countering Violent Extremism in Africa
“Violent extremism is a prevailing security threat to Kenya, a major strategic, political and economic player in Africa. The country has suffered numerous terrorist attacks, including the 1998 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi and the 2002 bombing of the Paradise Hotel on the Kenyan coast. Various terrorist groups target Kenya, including al-Qaida affiliate al-Shabab, which declared war on Kenya after its military forces went into Somalia in 2011 to flush out al-Shabab.
With its challenging mixture of land disputes, religious tensions, and a nascent separatist movement, Kenya’s coastal region has emerged as a hot spot for political violence and extremist ideologies. Culpability for much of the violence rests on nonstate forces, such as the Mombasa Republic Council, al-Shabab-affiliated groups and tribal militias. Failure by the Kenyan government to implement land reform and recommendations of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission report have exposed the communities to potentially violent reactions. Kenya lacks a national counter-violent-extremism strategy that would provide policy direction and create room for ad hoc reactions toward terrorism and violent extremism...”
Excerpt from Phyllis Muema, “Countering Violent Extremism in Africa,” per Concordiam: Journal of European Security Defense Issues 5, No. 3, 2014: 52-53.
Phyllis Muema is executive director of the Kenya Community Support Centre. Before that, she was a program manager for a social justice organization in Mombasa and a technical adviser to the Coast Inter-Faith Council of Clerics, where she facilitated dialogue among diverse religious groups. Muema is a social development expert and holds a postgraduate diploma in human and natural resources from the Kenya Institute of Management and Training Centre for Development Cooperation in Eastern and Southern Africa-Arusha.
This article reflects the views of the author and are not necessarily the official policy of the United States, Germany, or any other governments.