NCIS amnesty to Kenyan youth in Al-Shabaab

The National Cohesion and Integration Commission is drafting a policy for giving a six-month amnesty to youths who joined the al Shabaab but want to quit.

NCIC commissioner Roba Sharamo said the returning recruits must be integrated back into society immediately to prevent homegrown attacks.

“We have a national de-radicalisation strategy adopted by the cabinet which is guiding us. We also have had calls from the coastal political and religious leaders to have an amnesty so that the youths stranded in Somalia and fearing to come back can return to their homes,” Sharamo said.

He was speaking in Lamu county on Saturday during a peace meeting organised by the NCIC and the Supreme Council of Kenyan Muslims.

Sharamo said NCIC is working with the National Police Service, intelligence agencies and local leaders to put the systems in place.

“Only the President can grant such an amnesty. One of our mandates as NCIC is to advise the President directly and once all the systems have been put in place, we will approach him with the recommendations,” he said.

Sharamo noted that many of the youths joined the militia group to alleviate poverty, but are opting out because of disappointment.

“The Kenya Defense Forces has been dismantling the terror networks in Somalia and the situation has forced many of our youths to come back to the country,” he added.

Coast region Supkem chairman Sharif Khitamy said that the youths have adopted an ideology that can only be changed through dialogue and integration programs.

Khitamy said it is the duty of leaders, Imams, pastors and opinion leaders to rehabilitate them.

“Some of our youths have virgin minds and it our duty as leaders to train them on the right paths to follow or else terror groups like al Shabaab will take advantage of them,” he said.

Commissioner Adan Mohammed said the militia group took advantage of the youth.

“Somalia did not have a stable legal government for almost 20 years and the terrorists targeted and recruited the innocent youth,” Mohammed said.

He said they are at a critical stage and need proper guidance.

It is estimated that Kenyan youths make up 10 per cent of the al Shabaab and that 700 of them have returned to the Coastal region.

– The Star