Yonah Alexander, has the most universally acceptable definition of terrorism; “The use of violence against random civilian targets in order to intimidate or to create general pervasive fear for the purpose of achieving political goals.” This definition clearly brings out the political nature of terrorism.
However, not all acts of violence are terrorism. Only those incidents of violence could be defined as terrorism, which have political implications. It is worth noting that groups carrying out terror attacks are quick to claim responsibility in order to advance their political agenda.
It is therefore safe to ask, are the recent attacks on the Kenyan people acts of terror? If they are, what is the political message and has any group claimed responsibility?
You may recall that the NYPD compiled a comprehensive report about the Westgate mall attacks and what is interesting in the report, what the Kenyan police and media has referred to as “Terrorists,” the report just refers to as “Shooters” or “Killers”.
The report goes on to note: “The Shooters did not have many such explosives. There were no improvised devices set up as booby traps to kill first responders, as there had been when terrorists attacked hotels in Mumbai in 2008. They were traveling light. Their main weapons were their Kalashnikov-style rifles, and it appears they never fired them on full automatic like a machine gun. They took one or two or three shots at a time. They conserved their ammunition. They probably carried only about 320 rounds altogether”.
Notice the reference to the Mumbai gang as terrorists. My question therefore is, are we really dealing with terrorists or acts of violence by criminals.
It is worth noting that any terrorist act must have a financier. In the 1990’s, rich individuals including Bin Laden and other private organizations were bankrolling terror acts. If indeed what we have been experiencing are terror acts, can the government provide the names of those financing these attack. You can only confront this problem by going for the head. You may send the whole of Eastleigh to Indian Ocean but as long as those with the mullah continue to laugh all the way to the bank, it is only telling that they can woo non-Muslims as well, not with the promise of some virgins, but a handsome payoff.
Are we certain, in the first place that all the attacks have been carried out by people of Muslim origin? Do those people have names? Can they be made public?
Finally, a common feature of all terrorist organizations is hatred for western democracy and capitalism. Why would Kenya be at the center of an attack? If the answer is because of the KDF invasion of Somalia, then the question again goes back to who is masterminding the attacks and who is writing that cheque. Remember, there could be people who are already making profits as a result of the recent attacks. Someone sold those grenades!
If we do not deal with the attacks as they are at the moment, and assuming they are terror-related, what if they turn to use of anthrax attacks? A stitch in time saves nine, maybe ten.