Kenya announces amnesty and reintegration to youth who denounce Al-Shabaab

Interior CS Joseph Nkaissery (left) says criminal consequences will follow on those who do not take the amnesty. [PHOTO: File/STANDARD]

NAIROBI: Kenya has offered an amnesty to tens of youths who joined Al-Shabaab terror group and asked them to register with the government in the next ten days.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery said Tuesday the youths should report to County Commissioners in Nairobi, Mombasa and Garissa for further directions.

“The Government hereby calls upon all individuals who had gone to Somalia for training and wish to disassociate themselves with terrorism to report to the National government offices,” said Nkaissery in a statement.

Such youths may also confidentially report through: - 0701632432, 0701632643, 0701632443 or [email protected].

He said the Government will consider granting amnesty and appropriate reintegration support.

However, those who fail to heed this call within the prescribed time frame will be treated as criminals and will face the full force of the law, he said.

The minister told any parent or guardian whose child has either gone missing, suspects that the child has been radicalized, or suspects the child to have been killed in Somalia to report the same.

“Failure to report will lead to presumption that they are aware and condone or are party to the terrorist training with attendant criminal consequences,” he said.

The measures are the latest to be taken by the government in efforts to address growing terror threats in the country.

The announcement come more than a week after terrorists raided Garissa University College and killed 148 people and injured more than 100 others.

The minister said a number of unsuspecting Kenyan youths have been lured into traveling to Somalia for purposes of receiving militia training over the years.

“The training is aimed at, among other things, instilling murderous terrorist ideology targeting fellow Kenyans and has led to senseless killing and maiming of innocent citizens.”

He said they are aware that some of the youth were recruited by cunning individuals some of whom are terrorists masquerading as religious leaders.

He said a number of these Kenyan youth have been killed in Somalia while some have returned and are eager to disassociate themselves with the murderous Al-Shabaab ideology with some seeking refuge in neighbouring countries such as Uganda for fear of reprisals from Al-Shabaab.

Following the passage of the Security Laws Amendment Act, 2014, the Government is in the process of putting in place mechanisms to rehabilitate youth who have been radicalized and those who are vulnerable to exploitation and radicalization.

The measures will include de-radicalization programme and working with the relevant Government ministries and departments to provide training and alternative source of livelihood.