Share intelligence to help fight terror threat

Several Western embassies in Nairobi have advised their citizens living in Kenya to remain vigilant over a terror threat.

The argument advanced by these countries is that they have an obligation to protect their citizens against terrorism and other threats wherever they are in the world.

Terrorism is a global problem that all must unite to fight. Any credible warning should be a signal to move swiftly to avert the threat or mitigate its effects.

This is not something that can be taken lightly, as many Kenyans have been killed and hundreds injured in past terror attacks. They include the 1998 bombing of the US embassy in Nairobi, the 2013 raid on Westgate shopping mall and the 2019 Dusit Hotel attack.

The foreign missions – including the French, German, Dutch, British and Americans – have urged their nationals in Kenya to avoid public places. In various statements, they have warned of a grave risk for foreign nationals patronising restaurants, hotels, entertainment spots and shopping malls, especially in Nairobi.

Others, like the UK, have renewed previous warnings advising against non-essential travel to areas near the Kenya-Somalia border. The Kenyan authorities have taken issue with these warnings.

But on Monday, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i and the National Police Service advised Kenyans to remain alert and report any suspicious activities to the police, as they have done in the past and helped foil such attacks. The call has also been echoed by the National Counter Terrorism Centre.

The country is already battling al-Shabaab militants in Lamu and the northeastern region. In the latest incident, five Judiciary officials were shot and injured on Wednesday. Terrorists also attacked a Chinese construction firm destroyed eight trucks.

Terrorism has far-reaching repercussions for the affected countries. Sharing intelligence with and supporting the Kenyan authorities through available diplomatic and security channels would be more helpful than merely issuing public warnings, as the Western missions in Nairobi have done.

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