Al-Shabaab recruiting youths in Kenya's remote village, smuggling them to Somalia
KENYA - Al-Shabaab militants have penetrated the unlikely territories in the interior parts of Kenya, where recruitment targeting youths is being done, authorities have confirmed.
Usually, cases of radicalization have been reported in the coastal regions and the Northeastern part of the country, partly due to proximity to Somalia.
But despite the belief, the government has now shifted focus to the Western part of the country, where the Al-Shabaab terrorists are said to have invaded.
Michael Ole Tialaal, a County Commissioner in Siaya, Western Kenya told the media on Tuesday that cases of radicalization have become rampant in the area.
According to the officer, the militants have been using Tanzania as a gateway to Somalia, thus going almost unnoticed by authorities in Kenya.
Nyadorera village is the most affected. Already, some of them had crossed into Somalia to join terror group Al-Shabaab, he said.
"Another group was returned by security agencies from Tanzania while en route to Somalia," Tialaal said, adding that the security team is now vigil.
Rising unemployment among the youth, who form almost 60 percent of Kenya's population, is said to have significantly contributed to radicalization.
But the officer said the security team has identified those behind the clandestine activities in the remote village, adding that they will be arrested.
"We are aware of radicalization taking place in parts of Siaya and have identified those behind the clandestine activities," he said.
The officer added: “We appeal to Siaya residents to be patriots and help the security apparatus combat terrorism."
So sophisticated is the new strategy that it's said to have caused panic within the government, which has since deployed intelligence team to the region.
Cases of Kenyan youths crossing to neighboring Somalia are synonymous within the country. Officials have before seized a number of them within Coast and Northeastern.
Last week, Al-Shabaab militants waged yet another deadly attack in Wajir, which left 11 people dead. A local school headteacher has been linked to the attack.
Hussein Hassan, intelligence sources revealed, has since crossed over to Somalia. He's said to have hosted the militants prior to the attack.
President Uhuru Kenyatta over the weekend insisted that "we will not relent until we crush these criminal elements within Kenya".
Initially, recruitment was believed to be done in mosques, a claim that forced Muslim Council Supkem to increase vigilance within the affected regions.