We must remain focused to root out terrorism

EDITORIAL |

Recce commandos combing DusitD2, January 2018. [Courtesy]

The marking of the eighth anniversary of the Westgate attack today will, no doubt, evoke painful memories of the loved ones that we lost - but it will also fill our hearts with gratitude for those who have made sacrifices to make our country safer since that tragic incident.

On September 21, 2013, gun-wielding terrorists, affiliated with Al Shabaab militia, stormed into the mall and caught shoppers and everyone else going about their business by storm.

What followed was a four-day siege that left at least 67 people dead; 62 civilians, five security officers and the four attackers. More than 200 other people were injured.

As we remember those whose lives were brutally cut short in this attack, we should also remember those who put their lives at risk to rescue the injured.

For besides the security personnel who battled the terrorists day and night, civilians also stepped forward to rescue the helpless men, women and children who were caught up in the attack. Their heroic deeds were immortalised by the powerful pictures that were beamed around the world.

Further, images of Kenyans from all walks of life volunteering to make operation at Westgate successful - by providing food, water and anything else that they could to the security and humanitarian officers present, will forever remain etched on our minds.

Importantly, after Westgate, the war against terror went up a notch. Although we later suffered blows such as DusitD2 attack in 2019 in which 21 people died, our country is much safer.

But it would be wrong to assume that we are out of the woods. Terrorism is an ever-present threat and requires that we always stay alert.

Although our security officers are better trained and armed to confront the threat, they can't go far without the help of civilians. We need more such cooperation so that we can completely root out terrorism.

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