Leaders from the larger North Eastern region yesterday unanimously resolved to engage home- grown solutions in combating terror.
After a two-day conference on countering terrorism, deradicalisation, prevention and countering violent extremism in Mandera town, the leaders said terrorism cannot be fought through the gun or militarisation.
Mandera county, which borders Somalia, has borne the brunt of terror attacks targeting non-local residents and government officials including security officers since 2012 after KDF troops entered Somalia to pursue the al Shabaab militants.
Garissa Governor Ali Korane, who presided over the conference, called on residents to have a serious and honest commitment in fighting al Shabaab menace in the society.
“You cannot fight a problem if you are part of it, our first commitment should be to engage the government and ensure our youths who are in the ranks of al Shabaab are given amnesty after returning from Somalia because they are the genesis of all the problems we are facing today,” said Korane.
The host, Governor Ali Roba, blamed al Shabaab sympathisers for abetting terror activities in the region saying their aim is to bring the economy to its knees.
Roba, who chairs the Frontier Counties Development Council, said several key projects have either stalled or completely failed to kick off because of security challenges hence the need to vigorously fight the menace.
“It seems we are not only suffering as a result of targeted terror attacks on our population but we seem to have fallen for the trap set by the terror cells of dividing people along religious and communal lines,” he said.
Area County Commissioner Kutswa Olaka urged the community and leaders to stop blame games and have an honest and unified approach in fighting the terror menace.
Forum participants include Isiolo Governor Mohmed Kuti, Wajir deputy governor Ahmed Mukhtar, Mandera East MP Mohamed Omar, Lafey MP Abdi Mude and his Mandera North counterpart Bashir Abdullahi. The clergy, security officers, elders and community leaders also attended.