By Njoroge Kaburo NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said
on Wednesday that his government has put in place measures to
curb radicalization and violent extremism in prisons.
Kenyatta said major
steps have been made in collaboration with the National
Counter-Terrorism Centre to improve training curriculum for
staff and rehabilitation programs for inmates to check the vice
in the correctional institutions.
“A multi-agency task
force, which I appointed to assess the capacity of Kenya Prisons
Service, has concluded its assignment and presented the report
for further review - which we will shortly be undertaking,” he
said during the passing out parade of 2,699 prisons recruits in
Ruiru, about 20 kms east of Nairobi.
The police say
extremists are now targeting young people who are members of a
particular youth groups like the football clubs and convert
Christians to Muslims. They entice them with money and a promise
of better lives ahead.
According to the
police, some of the terror attacks in the country have been
committed by Kenyans who joined the terror groups such as Al-Shabaab
who have resorted to recruiting young Kenyans to join the group.
One of the gunmen
involved in the Garissa University terror attack that killed 147
people in April 2015 was a young promising Kenyan lawyer.
The dynamic of
terrorism in Kenya is that while in the past the perpetrators
were exclusively foreigners, there is a growing number of
Kenyans who have joined foreign terrorist organizations like Al-Shabaab
and have staged low key attacks inside Kenya according to
arrests and prosecutions made against some of the Kenyan
Several Kenyans have
been arrested while crossing over into Somalia to receive
terrorism training or when they are returning from the Al-Shabaab
training camps in Somalia to stage attacks.
Kenyatta said prison
institutions are required to offer not only retributive justice
but also the prospect of reform to reduce crime, stem
radicalization and ensure security in the country.
“Our justice system
exists not just to punish offenders or to deter possible
offenders from doing wrong; it exists also to encourage those
who have done wrong to change, and to once more contribute
meaningfully to society,” he said.
The president also
directed Interior Cabinet Secretary and the Commissioner of
Prisons to liaise with the Chief Justice regarding petty
offenders to see if they could be released to decongest prison
that some of the petty offenders have stayed longer in remand
cells than they would have served jail terms if their cases were
heard and determined.