I recently handed over 6 vehicles donated by the British Government to the Kenyan Anti-Terrorism Police Unit (ATPU). Internal Security Minister Saitoti was there to “receive” the vehicles as were a number of police colleagues, led by the Police Commissioner.
Counter-terrorism is an important area of cooperation between the UK and Kenya; for obvious reasons. The first responsibility of any Government is to provide security for its citizens. Terrorists threaten that security. Unhappily, both Kenya and the UK have direct experience of the horrible impact of terrorism. Just a few days before the handing-over ceremony attacks in Mtwapa and Mombasa left several dead and injured. In our speeches Minister Saitoti and I both expressed our condolences to the victims and paid tribute to the ATPU and other forces courageously working to combat terrorism.
Somalia is a major source of terrorism; and Kenya is on the front line. As a friend of Kenya, we want to help. Over the years we have built up considerable expertise in tackling terrorism, which we are keen to share. And as the vehicles demonstrate, we are ready to help with equipment too. The vehicles will provide the ATPU with increased mobility to respond quickly to incidents and to help prevent the destruction to lives and economies which terrorists seek. They are in addition to other assistance we are providing to the ATPU, CID and others to prevent and investigate crime. For example, we are helping to improve the ability of the security agencies to patrol and monitor Kenya’s borders against Al Shabaab and international terrorism. In February this year, we donated a security surveillance camera to the Kenya Airforce to improve maritime surveillance along the Kenyan coast and we facilitated training for selected Navy officials to be able to operate the equipment.
More fundamentally we need to address the underlying causes of terrorism. This was one of the key objectives of the London Conference on Somalia in February. The Conference agreed an overall strategy and a number of specific measures to enhance security, put in place new political institutions at national and regional level, and to address humanitarian issues. These will, among other things, cut away at the support base and rationale for Somalia-based terrorism. Kenya was a key participant at the conference, will be a vital player in taking forward the strategy agreed there, and should be a principal beneficiary from its successful implementation, including in the fight against terrorism.