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Critical lessons learned from the Dusit terrorist attack in Nairobi

By Dominic Pkalya | January 22nd 2019

There are a number of critical lessons that we can learn from last week’s terrorist attack at Nairobi’s dusitD2 complex along 14 Riverside drive. One, and if the media reports are anything to go by, Kenyans seem to be stuck with the old profile of a potential terrorist.

Many of us think that a terrorist must be a Muslim, Somali and or of Arab descent. This is why neighbors ignored all signs that Gichunge, his bride Kemunto and ally Kinyanjui could have been terrorists. Two and closely related to above is our old profile of terrorism geographies.

To many of us Kenyans, terrorists are found in areas bordering Somalia, the coastal region, maybe Isiolo and Nairobi’s Eastleigh, South B and South C. It could not ring in our minds that somewhere in Kiambu, Nyeri and or Kisii could be the breeding grounds for modern day terrorists.

In synopsis, terrorism is not limited to given geographies. Three, terrorists do not just target people of a particular faith. In the world, Muslims have borne the brunt of terrorism than any other religion.

Four, there is still something wrong with Kenyans. After the blasts, members of the public were seen running in the direction of the blast instead of running away. Imagine if there were more explosives left behind by the retreating attackers, we would have lost more lives than those taken by the terrorists’ bullets.

Five and finally, the way the entire situation was handled was exemplary. The security agencies, particularly the General Service Unit and other specialized units, exhibited professionalism, patriotism and clinical precision in rescuing hundreds of hostages and neutralizing the terrorists.

Leading international media such as CNN, BBC and Al Jazeera were quick to praise the professionalism of Kenya’s security agencies. In part, the Recce Squad of the GSU earned the much maligned National Police Service that elusive respect and accolades.

Going forward, Kenyans will be willing and trusting to share crucial information with the GSU unlike the regular or traffic police who have a penchant for trumped up charges meant to extort money from the public.

The communication aspect of the operation was also superb. The Inspector General of Police, the Cabinet Secretary of Interior and the President briefed the country in assuring and measured manner.

Kenya Red Cross also did a splendid job in helping the rescued hostages, rushing them to safety, hospitals and providing first aid to the injured. Then there were Kenyans who provided water and food to the rescue teams. It was another moment of “Kenyans for Kenyans”. Kudos all.

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