The war on radicalisation has been heightened in Isiolo county following disappearance of six youths who police suspect have joined terror group Al-Shabaab.
This brings to 31, the total number of youths who have crossed the border to join the Somalia- based Islamist group.
Authorities are currently tracking down the suspects from Tulloriba, some of whom are reported to be in Elwak, Mandera.
Police have also confirmed that terrorists have shifted routes from Mandera to Isiolo through Moyale and Marsabit towns while others pass through Wajir through Garissa to Isiolo as they target Nairobi.
Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) soldiers, Administration and regular police have been deployed to man the Moyale-Isiolo highway to monitor terrorists’ activities following reports of active Al-Shabaab cells that coordinate recruitments in the region.
Already, two video theatres in Isiolo are under investigations.
Following public outcry on increased recruitment of youth into terror groups, Isiolo governor Godana Doyo, County Commissioner George Natembeya and religious leaders on Tuesday held a joint security meeting with residents at a mosque in Tuloroba.
“According to our intelligence, Isiolo is considered as a transit point used by the terrorists on their way to Nairobi and other counties, but we want to assure locals that our multi-agency team together with police have intensified the crackdown to ensure that they are arrested immediately,” said Mr Natembeya.
Governor Doyo also pointed out that suspicious people pretending to be herders have invaded the County and were out to radicalize youth.
Mr Natembeya confirmed that some of the refugees from Daadab camp in Garissa who want to escape repatriation have moved into Isiolo to recruit young men into Al-Shabaab.
“We have already sent police officers to make sure that they evacuate them to Garissa where security team from that County will deal with them, we want to separate genuine herders from terrorists,” he said.
The meeting comes in the wake of arrest of two terror suspects identified as Abdi Mohammed Hilo alias Tuahip 35, and Remy Victor Odera alias Musa, 29, in BullaPesa estate, Isiolo who were found with bomb making materials and several maps.
The suspects also confessed to have recruited two youths who have already moved to Somalia for training.
But parents whose children have disappeared said poor social relations by police has prevented them from reporting such cases.
A parent who asked for anonymity blamed police officers for harassment and victimization after reporting the disappearance of his son.
“My son went missing but after I reported, I was treated like a suspect,” said the parent.
Mr Abdi Osman, a Tulloroba youth said lack of employment opportunities, drug abuse and school dropout due to lack of fees and bursaries was encouraging young people to join the outlawed group.
Mr Ahmed Set, a religious leader said stakeholders should fight extremists’ ideologies to win fight against radicalization.
Mr Set said religious leaders have embarked on ways to counter radicalization saying that Imams have agreed to preach and expound on its dangers in mosques.
Hotel owners were directed to keep records of those sleeping in their premises for scrutiny.
Source: Daily Nation