Northern Kenya has a long history of terrorism, ethnic conflict, violence and marginalization, and in the last few years, the region has experienced a spike in political and social tensions, threatening the wider peace and stability of the region. Decades of conflict and violence in Somalia have influenced Kenya’s Centre as well as its periphery. The recent increase in attacks by al-Shabaab in northern Kenya has raised concern that the terror group may be weakened but is not yet defeated and is still working hard to raise its profile in global jihadi circles.
Three non-local teachers were killed after Al-Shabaab militia conducted an attack in Kamuthe, Garissa County, on Sunday 13 January 2020. Due to these terrorist attacks by Al-Shabaab, many non-local teachers and health workers have refused to return to the area, leaving behind large gaps in the health, education and nutrition sectors. Al-Shabaab’s pattern of deliberately targeting non-indigenous and non-Muslim civilians, strategically exploits Kenya’s religious and ethnic divisions.
Indicators of a spillover effect are primarily experienced in the north-eastern counties due to their political wrangles, geography, ethic proximity, and refugee influx. Most political leaders are not coming out strong to condemn Alshabaab and some are even using the terror group to drive fear and panic to the locals. Local leaders should aim at tackling these inter-connecting conflict drivers and strengthen community-level, national, and cross-border peace building.