Lamu, KENYA: The county administration of Lamu has warned families whose relatives have joined the Al Shabaab to ensure more of their kin don’t fall prey to the militia group.
This follows new intelligence reports on the militia group’s latest recruitment technique where they are now using already recruited Kenyan terrorists to lure, radicalize and recruit close relatives and friends into the Al-Qaeda linked militia group.
Speaking in his office on Tuesday, Lamu County commissioner Joseph Kanyiri who is also Linda Boni Security Operation Director revealed that families whose kin had already joined Al Shabaab were now being preyed on by the militia group for more recruits.
He said the same applies to peers and friends of those who joined the group.
“Such families and peers are now the targets of recruitment by Al Shabaab. They use their brothers or sisters who have already joined to lure more relatives into the group. Better still, the militants try to convince their peers and friends back in Kenya to join them in Somalia. Those local radicals now induct the new recruits into the Al Shabaab ideologies and narratives,”said Kanyiri.
Kanyiri also warned that the militants were also actively using the internet and social media to recruit radical minds.
He warned of camouflaged recruitment sites that are used to lure potential recruits while at the same time making use of propagandist online videos, memory cards and DVDs to reach out to gullible youth.
“Some of these sites pass for Middle East jobs and once one applies and taken, the recruit finds it hard to turn back due to the threats of violence and death from the group,” said Kanyiri.
He said the security office was also aware of clerics and Al Shabaab returnees who have been conniving with the militants to recruit clandestinely.
“Most of the time these returnees pretend to be reformed and act like they are really sober from terrorism but actually covertly end up recruiting of inspiring those who wish to cross over,” he said.
The propaganda leaflets are normally spread around by Al-Shabaab agents and are normally designed to make the terror group appear attractive.
Kanyiri appealed to parents in the vulnerable counties including Lamu, Tana River, Garissa, and Kilifi, all of which are within the Linda Boni Operation zone to closely monitor their children so that they don’t fall into the traps of the cunning Al-Shabaab recruiters.