KNA Over 900 radicalised youths, who have undergone de-radicalisation programmes have been integrated back into the society in Mombasa and other neighbouring counties.
Mombasa County Commissioner Mr. Gilbert Kitiyo noted that concerted efforts by the national government and partners in combating terrorism and violent extremism have thwarted recruitment of youths by terror and radical groups.
“We have achieved great success since we started this programme. If you look at the number of those who have transformed and newly radicalised, we can say, for the last two years, we have almost zero cases of youths being recruited into radicalisation activities,” added Kitiyo.
Speaking Wednesday at Mombasa Women Hall during a youth forum on preventing and countering violent extremism, the County Commissioner said the reformed youths have been inducted into meaningful income generating activities.
“Some of those youths have been given boats to start fishing. Boda-boda (motorcycles), tuktuk (rickshaws) and money to start businesses and earn decent income,” he added.
The administrator further said the government will not relax various measures it has put in place to wipe out terrorism and violent extremism activities in Mombasa.
He said such measures have resulted in a decline in the prevalence of extremist groups while most of the radical youths are engaged in diverse development and empowerment projects by the government and its partners in the programme.
Other speakers during the forum organised by five Coast based civil societies include the National Counter terrorism Centre, Head of Prevention and Resilience Mr. Njenga Miiri and Director of Counter Violent Extremism (VCE) at National Police Service, Mr. Denis Okadapau.
Miiri observed that different approaches used in the counter terrorism and violent extremism programme and involvement of key stakeholders have drastically reduced terror attacks, radicalisation and recruitment of youths by terror network.
“The success of this programme is due to several measures we have applied in fighting terrorism and radicalisation. That is why we are continuing to record fewer terror incidents,” he observed.
Miiri said the government has also put in place an elaborate amnesty and disengagement programme targeting youths and women lured into the terror network.
“We now have the national strategy for countering violent terrorism which has different components dealing with rehabilitation of youths and women whose spouses had joined terror network,” he added.
More than 30 youths drawn from different parts of Coast region converged at Mombasa Women Hall during the forum themed “Artivism as a tool of preventing and countering violent terrorism among youth”
The programme is part of Sh 800 million Swedish government funded counter violent extremism programme in 27 counties, according to Jackson Obare, Regional Manager ForumCiv organisation.
Haki Afrika Executive Director Mr. Hussein Khalid said the youth art festival is part of innovative approaches used by different actors to educate youth and make them aware on dangers of violent extremism and terrorism.
“As the county we see how violent extremism and counter terrorism activities have affected us. This is an inborn issue that we have to face and take its fight a notch higher,” added Khalid.