Decade After Westgate: Kenya’s Enhanced Security Measures and the Fight Against Terrorism
As Kenya commemorates the tenth anniversary of the Westgate Shopping Mall attack, a somber mood lingers.
The incident, which took place in Westlands, saw 70 innocent lives tragically cut short. The attack was carried out by four masked gunmen who indiscriminately targeted shoppers, leaving a trail of destruction and despair in their wake.
This marked a grim chapter in Kenya’s history, highlighting the persistent threat of terrorism in the country.
Security Measures: Then and Now
Before the Westgate attack, Kenyan security agencies had shown their capability in containing terrorists, including through a covert operation in Somalia known as “Operation Linda Mpaka”. However, the Westgate attack demonstrated the terrorists’ determination to carry out a major attack on Kenyan soil.
A decade later, security measures have significantly improved in response to this tragedy. The enhanced security operations aim not only to respond to acts of terrorism but to disrupt potential plans for such attacks.
These measures include an increase in police personnel, as well as the incorporation of private security guards trained to detect and report crimes, including acts of terrorism. This has resulted in a number of planned attacks being successfully thwarted, as revealed by security officials.
Commemorating the Anniversary and Honoring the Security Personnel
To commemorate the anniversary of the attack, Interior Principal Secretary Raymond Omollo and Director General Private Security Regulatory Authority Fazul Mohamed will visit various malls in the city and launch special badges for security guards.
This act serves to honor the security personnel for their dedication and commitment to maintaining security in the country. The day will be commemorated at the Westgate Mall, the very scene where the tragic events unfolded.
Justice has been slow but relentless in the pursuit of those involved in the attack. In 2020, two men were sentenced to 18 and 33 years in prison for aiding the Islamist militants in the 2013 attack.
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These are the only convictions related to the Westgate attack. Intriguingly, one of the men found not guilty has been missing since the day the verdict was announced. This has raised questions and concerns, adding to the lingering pain from the attack.
Continued Vigilance and Public Support
The enhanced security measures aim to ensure public safety and prevent future terrorist attacks. However, the public’s support and cooperation are crucial in these efforts.
Every citizen has a role to play in maintaining security in the country, from being vigilant and reporting suspicious activities, to supporting the work of security personnel.
Together, Kenya can build a safer and more secure future, free from the fear of such horrific attacks.
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