Comment & analysis

Inside Kenya’s war on terror: breaking the cycle of violence in Garissa

28 July 2017 Christopher Wakube, Thomas Nyagah, James Mwangi and Larry Attree Inside Kenya’s war on terror: breaking the cycle of violence in Garissa

This in-depth article tells the story of Garissa County, instantly thrust into the world spotlight by an al-Shabaab attack at the University which left 148 dead. But there was a side of the story that was left untold – how mounting violence led up to that horrific attack, why it happened, and how local communities, leaders and the government came together in the aftermath.

With the aid of first-hand accounts from local residents, Saferworld takes a close look at the divisions and dangers in Garissa – connected to its historic marginalistation, local and national political rivalries in Kenya, and the ebb and flow of conflict in neighbouring Somalia.

The article also looks at how the attack led to a new approach to security – a break from previously heavy-handed tactics that only deepened resentment of communities. Instead, residents came together across social divides, building trust and condemning the violence that had shaken their community. Shabaab cells were disrupted, and attacks fell sharply.  Yet divisions remain and efforts to maintain peace are as important as ever. This is not ‘CVE job done’ – the focus must now be on marginalisation, clan rivalries, political tension and the persistent conflict in Somalia.

Read Inside Kenya’s war on terror: breaking the cycle of violence in Garissa

Read more about Saferworld's work on constructive alternatives to counter-terrorism approaches.