Global Index Reveals Kenya’s Success in Defeating al Shabaab

Kenya’s relentless efforts in counter-terrorism against al Shabaab are yielding results, garnering global recognition. According to the Global Terrorism Index 2024, terrorism-related deaths attributed to the Somalia-based group decreased from 800 in 2022 to 499 in 2023, marking a significant decline of nearly 38 percent. Notably, 86 percent of these fatalities occurred within Somalia, with the remaining 14 percent in Kenya.

In 2023, al Shabaab was responsible for 70 deaths in Kenya, the highest since 2019. However, the impact of terrorism in Kenya decreased from a high level in 2022 to a medium level in 2023, with Kenya scoring 5.616 on the index. Comparatively, Burkina Faso ranked highest with a score of 8.571, while Malaysia reported the lowest impact at 0.192.

Kenya’s success is attributed to ongoing multi-agency collaboration in counter-terrorism, evidenced by security operations in Lamu and the Northeastern region. These operations have resulted in the elimination of key terrorists, destruction of insurgent camps, and successful arrests and prosecutions.

Acknowledging Kenya’s efforts, the report commends its commitment to combating al Shabaab domestically and supporting Somalia. The government emphasizes continued modernization of security infrastructure and equipment for precise intelligence gathering and operations.

In addition to hard power approaches, the government emphasizes soft power strategies, empowering communities to collaborate with security agencies and investing in development projects like LAPSSET to stimulate economic growth. Citizens and stakeholders are urged to support anti-terrorism initiatives.

Despite progress, al Shabaab remains a significant threat, maintaining a nine-year streak of killing over 400 people annually. Most attacks occur in border regions like Lamu, Garissa, and Mandera. While Kenya’s efforts have mitigated some threats, challenges persist, including managing spill-over from operations in Somalia and addressing security leadership changes.

The report underscores the need for continued vigilance and cooperation to combat terrorism effectively.

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