Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday rolled out decentralised anti-terrorism measures to combat extremism and reduce threats to the country.
Speaking at the opening of counter-terrorism conference at the UN Headquarters in the capital Nairobi, President Kenyatta said the County Action Plans were tailored to the security needs of each of the 47 counties.
“The county action plans...are meant to bring together security sector actors covering enforcement agencies, administrators, civil society and citizens to prioritise collective counter terrorism actions that are measurable and time-bound,” the presidency said in a statement.
He also said that similar programs for students —developed by the ministry of education—would be rolled out in the next few months.
“Its goal is to protect our children from multiple threats to their wellbeing that may make them vulnerable to radicalization,” said President Kenyatta.
The conference dubbed African Regional High-Level Conference on Counter-Terrorism and Prevention of Violent Extremism Conducive to Terrorism was also addressed by United Nations Secretary General António Guterres and African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat.
President Kenyatta called on other African countries to develop strategies to curb violent extremism and counter cross border threats as terrorism was a pan-African challenge.
“I call on the African Union to generate a powerful political consensus for confronting and defeating terrorism and all other forms of violent extremism conducive to terrorism,” said the President.
Guterres said the UN was fully committed to work with all countries and organisations in the fight against terrorism.
“For terrorism to be defeated, it is essential that African counter-terrorism is holistic, well-funded, underpinned by respect for human rights, and - most importantly - backed by strong political will,” said Gutteres.
Faki said violent extremism was a threat to Africa and solutions to counter it should also include development, saying that the use of force alone will not curb the problem.
“Violent extremism and terrorism has taken firm root in different parts of the Continent. But despite this and our meagre resources, Africa did not resign to action. The responses of Africa to violent extremism and terrorism are multiple, multi-facetted and multi-dimensional,” said Faki.
The two-day meeting is being attended by thousands of participants from across Africa.