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July 1, 2021

Youth against violent extremism

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Young people are targeted by violent extremist organizations through ideological radicalization into terrorist organizations. Al Shabaab recruiters hiding in Kenya are having a difficult time finding new recruits.

In a recent data gathering report by The Nation newspaper, fewer Kenyan youth are joining the terrorist group. This has been ensured by counter-terrorism efforts and measures which are helping disengage and reintegrate the youth against violent extremism and as well, sensitize communities in matters of counter-terrorism.

Humanitarian organizations are working closely with the youth in underprivileged communities in spreading the message of peace, tolerance and coexistence in religious matters, as opposed to Al Shabaab’s cruel, unjust and divisive methods based on religious misconceptions. Youth in turn have developed a keen interest in stamping out religious radicalization by terrorist organizations. They are better placed to promote a culture of tolerance and peace amongst their peers. Engaging and working together with youth is key to Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism.

The ever-dwindling militant numbers is a good sign in the fight against violent extremism. Recently, 20 Al Shabaab militants were executed in Somalia following a death sentence in Puntland state. Elsewhere, fighting that ensued between Somalia National Army and Al Shabaab in Wisil, left 20 Al Shabaab militants dead, while sadly also displacing hundreds of Somali locals from the area. And in Mareerey area in Somalia, 5 al-Shabaab militants blew themselves with an IED following a security operation by AMISOM troops just outside Afgoye.

The efforts by security forces in diminishing Al Shabaab numbers have had an encouraging, positive effect in the fight against terrorism. Many young people have defected from the violent extremist group, while others have acted to reduce the impact of violent extremism, promote religious tolerance and build resilience against terrorism in their local communities and societies.