Admittedly, the act exposes the unmatched brutality of a group clearly more intent on spilling blood than pursuing any legitimate cause. The global conversations show anger and a sense of helplessness. There is justification to any demand for swift and firm action to arrest and punish the perpetrators and also to identify and eliminate the support networks, whether in Kenya or Somalia, on which the Al-Shabaab terrorist group thrives.
It goes without saying that the threat of Al Qaeda-styled terrorism has evolved. Affiliates like Al Shabaab actively plot attacks against anyone they perceive to be an enemy. But frequent and brutal attacks point to the lack of an effective strategy to combat terrorism. The threat of foreign terrorist operatives launching an attack on a particular country on one hand and the rise of homegrown terrorists on the other prove to be big challenges.
Clearly, no country is immune to acts unleashed by terrorist groups. Al Shabaab, even though an external terrorist organisation, is increasingly domesticating its operations in Kenya. The war is being waged not just by Somalis, but also by disenfranchised and radicalised Kenyans. Elsewhere in Africa and particularly in Nigeria, news of activities of terrorist groups remains disturbing.
Meanwhile, the Kenya attack is one of many that should serve as a reference point to all African countries. There is consensus that the attitude of these countries to confront terrorist groups is positive. It is important to note, however, that the fight against terrorism requires collective responsibility though these groups are often believed to be facing growing disinterest from sympathizers.
In fact, some of the countries continue to manifest optimism at a time when they are faced with the biggest test on security terms. The impact of terrorism on the security of these nations suggests that ideology is one of a number of factors in terrorism committed by the perpetrators. Indeed, radicalisation especially in African countries predominantly concerns matters of ethnicity, commercial rivalries and power.
The Kenya attack should reawaken us all to this deep-rooted reality. There is a need for African countries to come together and join forces to take on these terrorist groups. Of course, other big nations in other parts of the world should be willing to complement the African effort. Our leaders must try to draw up a joint strategy in the face of the mounting and increasingly bloody attacks by the fundamentalists.]]>