The Government has pledged to strengthen its counter-terrorism capabilities with the objective to further enhance the country’s overall security.
The renewed commitment comes amidst terrorism related incidents and cases of violent extremism across the region, that make the country susceptible to attacks.
Principal Secretary for Internal Security and National Administration Dr. Raymond Omollo has said that the Government is scaling up its multi-agency efforts to decrease terror-related activities, particularly from the Somalia-based al-qaeda-linked terrorist outfit, al-shabaab.
“It is apparent that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to the terrorism problem. It takes a multifaceted approach and continuous efforts to stay ahead of evolving threats,” PS Omollo said.
PS Omollo made the remarks when he presided over the official opening of the Regional Counter Terrorism Training Center established at the Administration Police Service Border Unit in Kanyonyoo, Kitui County.
The state-of-the art center is a fully functional training facility that offers a wide range of counter-terrorism courses, advanced tactical operations, and training.
Commenting on the facility, which was established in partnership with the United States Government, PS Omollo said that the ground breaking project will play a critical role in building capacity for law enforcement agencies and cement Kenya’s position as a regional leader in counterterrorism.
So far, 264 Border Patrol Unit (BPU) officers have been trained as part of the program, with the numbers expected to increase. The Center builds on the Border Police Unit’s capacity to respond to terrorist activity in volatile areas particularly in the North Eastern and Coast regions as well as the use of specialized weapons and tactical equipments in urban and rural settings.
Further, the PS pointed out that the counter terrorism facility will help equip security agencies within and outside the country with contemporary skills and knowledge, leveraged with modern technology to combat terrorism. He went on to say that peace and security are important components of the Kenya Kwanza’s Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA).
“As intended, the facility will not only build capabilities for Kenya, but will also bring together other security agencies from the neighboring countries, to deliver relevant training and fundamentals of joint border operation consultation,” PS Omollo said.
The PS stated that the operationalization of the centre will further act as a strategic focal point for regional training that will enable officers to adapt appropriate techniques in operational theatres to minimize security threats. It will also foster mutual-cooperation and information sharing between respective countries facing similar security challenges.
The Internal Security PS emphasized the need of working together to combat terrorism in order to safeguard the peace and prosperity of both countries.
“As our friends and partners who have made advances in this field can attest, the terrorism threat remains the greatest challenge that even the strongest economies in the world struggle to overcome,” he said.
The PS appreciated the long standing and collaborative partnership between Kenya and the United States and also advocated for enhanced resource sharing in the fight against terrorism. He added that the Kenya Government is eager to continue partnering with the US in intelligence sharing, capacity building and infrastructure development which he believes are critical in stopping terrorists and other criminal forces from targeting the country.
“We look forward to a sustained working relationship with the US Government and it’s Agencies and hope to strengthen institutionalized liaisons between our states to overcome communication barriers that sometimes stand in our way to effective operations,” he said. The PS lauded the security agencies for their continuous dedication to maintaining law and order in and protecting the country’s sovereignty.
Present in the event was Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Noor Gabow, Deputy Director of Criminal Investigations(DCI) Nicholas Kamwende, Chris Landberg, US Bureau of Counter Terrorism, Kimberly Brown Antiterrorism Assistance Program (ATA) Program Manager, Border Police Unit commandants, and representatives from the US Embassy in Nairobi.