How Kenya is Handling the University Attack
The Garissa University College Attack was an attack by Somali militants thatkilled 147 students and teachers. It was one of the biggest ever terrorist attacks in Africa. What stunned the world was the severity of the attack. Many students weren’t killed as they fled. They were captured and executed in full view of their friends.
Kenya is an African nation that has reacted strongly to the attack, both domestically and internationally. Let’s take a look at some of the effects the crisis had on Kenyan society and policy.
The Budget for Anti-Terrorism
Anti-terrorism was already being heavily funded. Kenya continued to increase its international lines of credit to combat the terrorists. This included more domestic security and an increase in general defence spending.
Changes to Local Communities
Companies like UK Home and Personal Loans, Apple, and Amazon were forced to review their security situations if they were operating in Kenya. Businesses were hampered and local residents saw an increase in the number of security personnel carrying out checks in the streets.
Furthermore, the government implemented nightly curfews in three countries. The effectiveness of these curfews were questioned as similar curfews had failed in the past.
More Troops Abroad
The primary reason why terrorist groups in Somalia have made Kenya a target is because the African Union mission in the country has seen significant support from the country. In response, Kenya sent even more troops into Somalia to help defeat the terrorists.
Garissa is but 200km from the border with Somalia, which made it a primary target in the first place.
A New Attitude to Refugees
Refugees from Somalia have flooded into Kenya since a new wave of violence has spread across Somalia. These refugee camps became targets for people who believed they served as a recruiting ground for terrorism.
The government initially implemented an order that commanded all refugees to be repatriated. This was later relaxed and now the order is voluntary.
It has had a major impact on the way Kenyan society sees refugees, however. Many commentators have argued that locals have become much more suspicious of refugees, and in some cases less welcoming.
The Big Change
All of this has contributed to a determination by Kenya to eradicate terrorists in the area. Prior to the attacks, the Kenyan government issued a strongly worded message to the UK and France that its continued warnings about terrorism was impacting tourism and akin to colonialism.
Some people argue that Kenya had become too relaxed in relation to the serious terrorist threat afflicting the country. The government has since focused all its resources into improving internal security. Sometimes this has come at the expense of its international forces, which has seen proposals to cut its budget by up to half.
Many Kenyans are still haunted by the Garissa University College Attack. It won’t vanish from memory anytime soon.
But many Western nations have praised the way Kenya has reacted to the attack. It has reviewed its security situation, retaliated against the terrorists, and led the way in anti-terrorism operations throughout East Africa.