FBI joins the fight against Alshabaab in Kenya

A member of the security forces gestures as people take cover during the Dusit attack in 2019./COURTESY

The fight against terrorism in the country has gotten a boost after the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the U.S. State Department partnered with Kenya to form a Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF).

The Kenyan-led Task Force will be a multi-agency counterterrorism investigative force located in Nairobi.

Formation of JTTF comes barely six weeks after al Shabaab militants attacked Manda Military base, used by Kenya and United States military, in Lamu.

Also read: Al Shabaab attack Manda military base days after US airstrike

In a press statement, the FBI said the initiative to establish a Kenyan Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF-K) began after the al-Shabaab terrorist attack on the DusitD2 Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya, on January 16, 2019.

The Bureau said there was a pressing need for a JTTF that could be met through FBI’s training expertise combined with the State Department Bureau of Counterterrorism’s (CT Bureau) capacity-building efforts.

Also read: Riverside attack: 174 rescued overnight at Dusit

“The FBI is proud to have the opportunity to work with our Kenyan law enforcement partners on this initiative,” said Assistant Director of the International Operations Division Charles Spencer.

The Bureau’s coordinator for counterterrorism, Ambassador Nathan A. Sales said the JTTF for Kenya will support the interagency approach required to successfully investigate and prosecute terrorists before they conduct attacks.

“For over two decades, the CT Bureau has supported Kenya’s efforts to improve its law enforcement capacity to defend its borders and become a counterterrorism leader in East Africa,” said Ambassador Sales.

42 selected Kenyan investigators will receive a 12-week intensive counterterrorism training at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. The FBI will administer the curriculum and provide training with assistance from other agencies, as applicable. The FBI and the CT Bureau will collaboratively assess the program.

The team will adopt methodologies used by U.S.-based JTTFs and be trained to handle sensitive counterterrorism intelligence shared with the Kenyan government.