The United States and Kenya have set up a Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), the U.S Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said on Monday in a press statement. The task force will operate in Kenya. It is the first of such to be located outside the U.S., the statement said.
The U.S.-funded task force, which will be led by Kenya, will be a multi-agency counter-terrorism investigative force as part of a “comprehensive program with Kenya to promote terrorism investigations and prosecutions, enhance crisis response, and strengthen border security”.
Forty-two Kenyan investigators have already been selected for counterterrorism training in the U.S. The FBI said the joint task force initiative began after the Al-Shabaab terrorist attack on the DusitD2 Hotel in Nairobi on January 16, 2019.
The East African country, which is a choice destination for western tourists, has a history of terrorist attacks, one of the worst being the 1998 bombing of the U.S Embassy in Nairobi which killed 213 people. The militant group Al-Shabaab, in 2013, killed 67 people in an attack on a shopping mall in Nairobi.
The Global Terrorism Index (GTI) 2019 placed Kenya on the 21st position among the nations of the world that are most impacted by terrorism.
George Kinoti, Kenya’s Director of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, said the U.S has been a “valued partner” in Kenya’s fight against terrorism.
“I appreciate the effort and resources the FBI and Department of State have dedicated toward improving the capabilities of our officers through training, experience, and insight. Due to globalization and the rapid advancement in technology, terrorists and their sympathizers have also changed tactics and devised new methods to further their agenda. Endeavors such as the Kenyan Joint Terrorism Task Force will allow for a multi-agency approach to achieve common objectives and assist us in obtaining the upper hand against the enemy,” Kinoti said