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Non-Western responses to terrorism$
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Michael J. Boyle

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781526105813

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781526105813.001.0001

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Kenya: Counterterrorism in Kenya: Security aid, impunity and Muslim alienation

Kenya: Counterterrorism in Kenya: Security aid, impunity and Muslim alienation

15 Kenya: Counterterrorism in Kenya: Security aid, impunity and Muslim alienation
Non-Western responses to terrorism

Jeremy Prestholdt

Manchester University Press

Since the 1998 bombing of the US Embassy in Nairobi, the Government of Kenya’s response to terrorism has been multifaceted. Government efforts have primarily relied on civil authorities and the military, thus privileging the use of force over subtler means. The Kenyan Police have employed measures such as profiling, detention, and prosecution. The Kenyan military has conducted operations in Kenya and Somalia. These strategies have contributed to the apprehension of some terrorist suspects and checked Shabaab’s advance in Somalia. Yet, Kenya’s counterterrorism efforts have been hampered by limited coordination among agencies, the use of heavy-handed tactics, and insufficient engagement with civil society organizations. Two defining features of Kenyan counterterrorism efforts have emerged. First, counterterrorism in Kenya has clear sociocultural dimensions. Security forces have responded to the threat of terrorism by focusing intently on Kenya’s alienated Muslim communities both in the Somali-majority north and at the Swahili-speaking coast. As a result, the Government of Kenya’s response to terrorism reflects communal divisions and animosity within Kenyan society that precede contemporary counterterrorism. Second, Kenya’s invasion of neighboring Somalia created and blurred two fronts: one within Kenya and the other in southern Somalia. The actions of Kenyan policy-makers and al Shabaab therefore contributed to a more complete integration of the conflict in Somalia and internal tensions in Kenya..

Keywords:   Kenya, Somalia, al Shabaab, counterterrorism, police

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