The Director of the National Counter-Terrorism Centre Martin Kimani had called for enhanced citizen- security agencies collaboration to defeat terror activities.
Kimani wants security agencies to take advantage of the increased Internet penetration in the world, for timely intelligence gathering on any imminent threat to security and stability.
Speaking at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs forum in the US, Kimani said by involving citizens, they will take ownership of the insecurity mitigation measures put in place.
He told the forum Kenya is one of the best scenarios where there are community-security agency forums where they are able to sit down and discuss what are the issues right at the local level that are affecting us.
“… issues like where does there seem to be recruitment going on, where is there incitement?… and a lot of times, citizens are ahead of the security services because they understand who these people are,” he said.
He said community integration is the promising areas they have seen movement.”
Kimani said Kenyan security agencies have benefited greatly from a closer people-police relationship in fighting crime and violent extremism.
“The amount of data coming from citizens to the security services in Kenya has quantitatively leaped because of this kind of approach,” he said.
He added the strategy can only be effective in an environment where there are no ethnic proliferation, tribalism, racism among other –isms socially frowned upon.
“One of the things that I hope could emerge from this conversation in Chicago is the need to go back to citizenship development, citizenship protection, and advocacy,” he said.
He argued agencies have the challenge of presenting a powerful counter-narrative against that of the terrorists, which is often appealing to youths and other marginalised groups who often resort to such acts.
The theme of the conference was Planning for Disruption and Promoting Resilience in Cities across the World.
Kenya has as well paid heavily in the ever-changing threat of terror, which remains real according to local security agencies.
In less than a month, the country has lost more than 30 people including 20 officers to terror attacks.
The terrorists used Improvised Explosive Devices. Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery says the attacks witnessed in Northern Kenya is as a result of the locals colluding with terrorists.
The IEDs are suspected to have been planted by suspected Al Shabaab militants from Somalia.
The attackers have been planting the landmines on the routes used by the security agents blowing their vehicles.
The incidents come weeks after Inspector General of police Joseph Boinnet said Al-Shabaab terrorists are under pressure inside Somalia from Amisom troops and are escaping to Kenya with an intention to staging attacks.
“These groups are dispatching operatives into parts of Northern Eastern Region to lay IEDs along the routes used by our security patrols in efforts to frustrate our security operations at the border areas,” said Boinnet.
Boinnet urged for public help to contain any planned attack. He appealed for vigilance in public service vehicles, churches, hotels and airports.
Many are asking how the terrorists set up the explosives without being noticed by locals.
Earlier on last week, Kenyan and Somali security agencies were lauded when they prevented a terrorist attack inside Kenya and arrested six suspects in the joint operation.
The authorities said they intercepted two Kenyans, Abdulahi Daud Adan and Ismail Issak Mohamed at Bula Hawa, a town bordering southern Somalia as they were ferrying bombs into Kenya.
The suspects were found in possession of suicide borne improvised explosive devices (SVBIED), bomb-making material including trinitrotoluene (TNT) and fragmentation-generating objects including nails, ball bearings, and shrapnel.