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INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP - NEW BRIEFING
One year after the Westgate attack, Al-Shabaab has become more entrenched and active in Kenya. Meanwhile, the country’s immediate post-Westgate unity has broken down in the face of increasing attacks, and the political elites, security services, and ethnic and faith communities are beset by mutual suspicion and recriminations.
In its latest briefing, Kenya: Al-Shabaab – Closer to Home, the International Crisis Group highlights Al-Shabaab’s growing presence and increasingly frequent attacks and the muddled response of Kenya’s government, security services and political elite. Anti-terrorism operations perceived to target entire communities have exacerbated feelings of marginalisation and persecution, particularly of the Muslim minority, and are feeding directly into Al-Shabaab’s messaging and recruitment.
The briefing’s major findings and recommendations are:
“Kenya’s 4.3 million Muslims have been historically marginalised, especially in the north east and along the coast”, says Cedric Barnes, Horn of Africa Project Director. “If the government wants to cut grassroots support for Al-Shabaab, it has to address the widespread institutional and socio-economic discrimination felt by Kenyan Muslims”.
“The blame for growing radicalisation in Kenya lies less in the weaknesses of the country’s institutions than in the unwillingness of political leaders to put aside partisan divisions”, says EJ Hogendoorn, Deputy Africa Program Director. “Their playing politics with terrorism compounds an already volatile situation”.