Employment scarcity blamed for rise of students extremism

Photo credit: Jonathan Kalan



Kenyan experts have cited joblessness and frustrations among students in institutions of higher learning as the major reason why they are being recruited into extremist organizations.

The revelation comes after it emerged that the Somalia’s Islamist ‘al-Shabaab’ militants embarked on a new tactic that involves recruiting Kenyan youths to join the terror organization.

“Most of the university students are worried about the future.

“To them, the future is bleak because there are no ready jobs.

“The system of employment should be objective to accommodate the young and fresh graduates,” Professor John Shiundu, Center director of Education, Curriculum and Instruction Studies at Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology told Xinhua in interview late Saturday.

Last month, the National Counter Terrorism Center director Isaac Ochieng revealed that university students were being recruited into violent extremist organizations at an alarming rate.

Ochieng said that the intelligence service has already received the names of some students who have been radicalized and are receiving salaries from ‘al-Shabaab’ and Al-Qaida network.

His sentiments were echoed by Professor Joseph Rasowo, Principal of Odera Akang’o University College who urged the employers to accommodate the young people into the job markets.

Rasowo also appealed to the higher education loans board to increase the financial capacity for students so that they do not fall prey to ‘al-Shabaab’ extremists.

Professor Maurice Amutabi, Kisii University Deputy Vice- chancellor in charge of Academic Affairs, said there was need to invest more intelligence officers to avert radicalization in the institutions of higher learning.

“With more intelligence officers in the institutions, they will be able to monitor students and know the number who is radicalized, ” Amutabi said.

A number of parents have raised concern and even reported to the police about the disappearance of their sons and daughters who have gone missing for months.

Some of the terror attacks in the country have been committed by Kenyans who joined the terror groups.

One of the gunmen involved in the Garissa University terror attack that killed 147 people on April 2 was a young Kenyan lawyer.

The extremists are now targeting young people who are members of a particular youth groups like the football clubs and convert Christians to Muslims.

They entice them with money and a promise of better lives ahead.

Last month, a 16-year-old school girl was arrested over allegations that she disappeared from her home in Kiambu county, central Kenya to join ‘al-Shabaab’ terrorists.

The teenager disappeared from school in June 2014 and resurfaced in May.

Born from a Christian family, she insisted that she be taken to Muslim school.

Police confirmed that the girl had been radicalized after joining the terror organization.

And last week, two ‘al-Shabaab’ recruiters were nabbed along the Isebania border in the county of Migori, Western Kenya while trying to lure some Kenyan women to join the terror group which has claimed hundreds of human lives in the country.

Three weeks ago, a teacher in Siaya County in Western Kenya came out publicly and said that he was tricked into joining ‘al-Shabaab’ five years ago after being promised a job in Qatar.

“I thought joining the group would bring to an end my financial woes.

“It is only after I realized that I was duped that I came and came back home,” the 47-year-old teacher said in an earlier interview with journalists on June 8.

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