Parents in Marsabit County are calling on the government to save their innocent children from selfish radical clerics, who are luring them to join the dreaded Al Shabaab group.
The parents claim there are increased incidences of youth disappearing without a trace and they are worried that if the trend continues, the County will be robbed of the young and promising leaders.
The residents have now accused about five Sheikhs in Marsabit of being involved in radicalizing the youth into terrorism.
They conduct private madrassa in different parts of the County, purporting that, they are teaching the youth solemn Islamic principles. “Since these Sheikhs began their teachings here in Marsabit, we have noted a negative change in behavior of our youth, especially those attending the private Madrassa of these specific Sheikhs.
The youth have become unruly, some have left school claiming that western civilization is against the religion and all they talk about is hijra (going to Somalia to fight),” complained one parent.
Most of the youth attending the private Madrassa conducted by the radical clerics have disappeared and they are believed to have left for Somalia to join Al Shabaab.
Speaking in anonymity, one of the parents at TAQWA integrated School said that most of these radical Sheikhs visit schools in the area especially during weekends and in the evening during the week, where they lecture students on radical ideologies.
The Sheikhs are said to access the schools through the assistance of the Islamic Religious Education (IRE) teachers at the respective schools, who allow them to freely conduct radical teachings.
The parents are also accusing a the sheikhs of sexually harassing female students, claiming some have even droped out of school to marry them.
A parent who can’t be named has singled out a one sheikh Guyo saying he is notorious and is behind the disappearance of her daughter.
Sheikh Guyo Gorsa from Marsabit has since been arrested and faces charges of radicalizing the youth into terrorism as well as facilitating their travel to Somalia and back to the country to carry out attacks.
In a bid to extend his reach, influence an audience beyond his contemporary recruitment areas, Guyo is said to run a weekly program every Friday between 2000 to 2200 hours, which he uses to convey extremist ideas to the locals despite complaints from moderate Sheikhs.
Arising from his deep involvement in recruitment and radicalization, the subject was arrested on 13th January 2018, within Marsabit Township.
The police have launched an operation in Marsabit County in pursuit of other sheikhs and people involved in the radicalization of youth and the financing of terrorist activities in the County.
The Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinett said that the security agencies will not rest until those radicalizing the youth and financing terrorist activities in Marsabit County and the country at large are brought to book. He also thanked the residents of Marsabit County for cooperating with the police in the fight against terrorism in the County.
Police have cautioned the school heads to be very careful on who they invite to the schools to lecture the students under the guise of religious studies. They called for thorough vetting of all clerics in the area.