In recent months, Kenya has increased its crackdown on Islamic extremism, including mosque raids and alleged extrajudicial killings. In an email interview, Jeremy Prestholdt, a professor at the University of California, San Diego, discussed Kenya’s counterterrorism policies.
WPR: What is Kenya’s current approach to counterterrorism, and how effective has it been at tackling terrorism threats?
Jeremy Prestholdt: In recent years Kenya has experienced a dramatic increase in terrorist attacks. This escalation is closely linked to Kenyan military actions against al-Shabab insurgents in Somalia. In the wake of Kenya’s 2011 offensive, al-Shabab and its sympathizers in Kenya initiated a terror campaign that ruthlessly targeted civilians, from travelers to churchgoers and shoppers at Nairobi’s Westgate Mall.