Al Shabaab returnees in Kenya have cautioned on the need for stringent measures in tackling marginalization in Kenya especially among the coastal youth.
Over 700 returnees volunteered to denounce al Shabaab following the Kenyan government offered an unconditional amnesty that provided for both anonymity of the volunteers, their security and incorporation back into the society.
The Kenyan government offered amnesty to Kenyan that were serving with the al Shabaab militants in Somalia and were seeking to come back and be integrated into the community. The amnesty that was prompted by the Garissa Massacre yielded results with at least 700 former al Shabaab members of Kenyan decent surrendered.
Most of the returnees’ narratives are characterized with a promise for a good pay and better life, fighting for a good course and being able to be part of a greater course that would see the Kenyan coastal youth eradicate the marginalized they all felt entrapped them. The promises were just empty as they underwent military training and would go for months without any pay.
According to the returnees, most youth at the Kenyan coast are deeply radicalized practice extremist ideologies and believe that Jihadi and extreme Islam is the only remedy to their ‘historical injustices’. These beliefs make them a huge target for the al Shabaab recruitment who promise them good pays and a chance to be part of a movement that will end their woes.
Despite the Somali Government vehemently seeking to kick the Kenya Defence Forces out and stop the construction of the security wall, the returnees have warned that al Shabaab is still an imminent threat that needs co-operation and stringent counterterrorism measures to annihilate.
Kenya identifying the need to secure her citizenry has maintained that KDF will remain put in Somalia until the AMISOM designated operational time comes to an end. This will wand off the militants from Kenya especially through the wall and operations in Boni Forest that is set to keep them off their main operation base in Kenya.