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Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI) conducted an awareness and sensitization on Counter terrorism and violence extremism to ensure staff are well prepared in case of any eventuality.
The sensitization which took place at KEFRI Headquarters on 31st January, 2020 saw staff educated on: - Introduction to terrorism, Terrorism in Kenya, Radicalisation and violent extremism, Identification of suspicious persons, objects and vehicles, what to do during terrorist attacks and active shooting incidents.
Dr. Joshua Cheboiwo, Director KEFRI opened the forum which was organised by The National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) and asked staff to be vigilant and ensure they report any suspicious persons or activities in the Institute to relevant authorities.
Dr. Cheboiwo assured members of staff who are based in terrorism prone areas such as Marigat, Lamu, Malindi and Garissa, that the institute is committed to ensuring their safety, adding that staff in these centres needed continuous counselling to cope with the dangers they are exposed to.
He went ahead and suggested that the Government of Kenya should allocate adequate resources to the Terrorist Act since this menace affects all humanity.
“We have collaborated with security agencies to ensure our centres prone to attacks are secure and our staff are protected,” Dr. Cheboiwo said.
Ms. Evelyn Oroni, Deputy Director Human Resource expressed her concerns on the effects on insecurity to staff working in the terrorism prone areas, adding that some have opted to resign or request for transfers, increased absenteeism and low productivity.
“The insecurity has affected most employees working in these areas. We have received increased transfer requests, while deploying staff to these areas is proving to be a challenge as even newly employed staff opt to turn down the offers,” she said.
Ms. Oroni urged employees among other things; to be extra vigilant by reporting suspicious persons or objects to the relevant organs, follow instructions and adhere to procedures dealing with terrorism in case of any eventuality.
NCTC led by its Senior Liaison Officer, Mr. Masisi Kiilu, conducted the awareness asking participants to ensure they help save lives all the time pointing out that one life lost in a terror attack affects more than 20 lives in our society.
He encouraged participants to always hide, run in a zigzag manner or fight back the attackers in case it happens.
“Never allow someone to end your life easily, if you can fight please do, you can hide in a safe place and remain quiet as possible but be attentive to ensure you differentiate between attackers and those on a saving mission,” said Mr. Kiilu.
He pointed out that corruption amongst security personnel, lack of integrity and patriotism, lack of security awareness as part of the challenges experienced in the war against terrorism.
He further spelt out the role of KEFRI employees in the fight against terrorism in order to detect obscure signs of radicalization amongst themselves and report to the authorities, challenge radical ideas openly, stay clear from suspicious activities, and use media positively.
He ended by emphasizing wisdom of association, teamwork, demystification of terrorism and stereotyping “be wise and choose well, let’s work as a team to demystify perceptions on terrorism and avoid stereotyping in order to win the war against terrorism’’.