Intelligence key in battle to ward off terror threats
SEE ALSO :The unseen war - Part 2Global trends on the war against terror show that nations are increasingly relying on espionage to halt the jihadists. Nations on the frontline of radicalisation have over the years come to the same realisation that Kenya came to a few years ago. “From the Algerian war, France learned that military victory on the ground did not guarantee an end to terrorist attacks. It realised that the “hearts and minds” of a population could not be won through military action alone,” reads a study from the Combating Terrorism Centre. To reach optimal efficiency, counter-terrorism must be inventive and flexible while remaining within the confines of the law. Renouncing democratic principles will only help terrorists spread their ideology and bolster their “martyr” narrative. This same narrative has been the bread and butter for Al-Shabaab operatives and their sympathisers. Initially, their core recruitment pool was in areas with a heavy sense of historical injustices. But the terrorist profile the security forces had grown used to changed. There was no template anymore on how a terrorist looked like. “They started going into schools and universities to radicalise the most unlikely targets,” Abduwahab says. Counter surveillance To counter this, experts say, much more effort needs to be put in police counter surveillance. The months after the Garissa attack saw this swing into place. The government revived grassroots espionage networks that served previous regimes to devastating effect. Many credit this to the reduction of attacks in Northern Kenya and other major towns over the past couple of years. This is, however, just part of the solution to winning the war. “First, the minds and hearts of the people have to be won. This can only be done through the use of popular intelligence - the local man and woman on the street,” says Musamali.
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