Kenya to Build New Prison for Extremists
Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta has said he will set up a new prison dedicated to dealing with extremist criminals, following years of terrorist attacks in the country.
Kenya has been the victim of a spate of violent attack from neighbouring Somalia’s Islamist extremists Al-Shabaab. Hundreds have been killed in the last few years, including civilians on Kenyan soil and Kenyan Defence Forces (KDF) soldiers in Somalia.
Prison for ‘violent, extremist offenders’
Kenyatta didn’t single out Al-Shabaab in his speech, at a graduation ceremony for guards on Tuesday, but vowed to stop the spread of extremist ideals in his country.
“We will establish a new prison to hold violent, extremist offenders – the truth of the matter is that we cannot allow them to spread their poison to vulnerable Kenyans,” he said.
The president last year promised he would take a new stance against the spread of Islamist ideology, after it was revealed some of the gunmen involved high profile attacks were Kenyan citizens who had joined Al-Shabaab.
New measures in Kenya, increased attacks in Somalia
The announcement of a new prison specifically for extremist criminals comes as Al-Shabaab stages a growing number of attacks in Somalia. Kenya has been singled out as one of the group’s main targets after contributing over 4,000 troops to African Union (AU) forces battling Al-Shabaab in Somalia.
A number of attacks have also been staged across the Kenyan border this year, although the extremist group’s presence has been minimal in Kenya so far. Its efforts appear to be focused on Somalia for now, where it had been largely pushed out into remote areas by Somali and AU forces.
The group has made a comeback of sorts, however, in the early months of 2016 and Kenya will be the most nervous of Somalia’s neighbouring countries. In January, a KDF base in Somalia’s El-Ade was attacked by Al-Shabaab fighters, reportedly killing dozens of Kenyan troops. The militant group claimed more than 100 Kenyan soldiers were killed in the attack, however, Kenya has released no official figure.