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Kenya launches regional counter-terrorism training center in Kitui

National
 Police at the regional counter-terrorism centre in Kitui. [Ministry of Interior]

The government has launched a regional counter-terrorism training centre in partnership with the United States, as part of its efforts to enhance the country’s security and combat the threat of al-Shabab.

The state-of-the-art facility, located at the border police unit headquarters in Kanyonyo, Kitui, was inaugurated by Principal Secretary for Internal Security and National Administration Raymond Omollo on November 10.

Omollo said that the centre will help train officers from Kenya and neighbouring countries on how to respond to terrorism activities in prone areas such as the North Eastern, Coast region, urban and rural areas.

He said that the government is aiming at decreasing terror-related incidents, particularly from the Somalia-based al-Qaeda-linked terrorist outfit, al-Shabab, which has carried out several attacks in the region.

“It is apparent that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to the terrorism problem. It takes a multifaceted approach and continuous efforts to stay ahead of evolving threats,” Omollo said.

He added that the centre will also facilitate joint border operations and consultations among the security agencies of the participating countries.

He thanked the US government for its support and collaboration in intelligence sharing, capacity building and infrastructure development, which he said are critical in stopping terrorists and other criminal forces from targeting the country.

“We look forward to a sustained working relationship with the US government and its agencies and hope to strengthen institutionalised liaisons between our states to overcome communication barriers that sometimes stand in our way to effective operations,” he said.

The Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Noor Gabow said that since the inception of the programme, 264 border patrol unit officers have been trained.

He said that the training process will see more officers receive training, with the number of US personnel involved reduced to 35.

“Right now we have reduced the number of US officers who will be coming for training. We have around 35 officers who have been deployed to train our officers. We thank the US government for the support mechanism,” Gabow said.

He also emphasised the need for Kenya and the US to work together to combat terrorism, owing to the fact that they face similar security challenges.

“As our friends and partners who have made advances in this field can attest, the terrorism threat remains the greatest challenge that even the strongest economies in the world struggle to overcome,” he said.

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