14 March 2021, Mombasa-Kenya - The IGAD Security Sector Program (IGAD SSP) has successfully concluded a four-days technical national workshop on the C-IED approaches to enhance the capabilities of security institutions for Kenya. This training was the second provided for Kenya, which was conducted back in 2014 whereby the basic concepts and methods of C-IED were covered. The objective of the training was to strengthen the technical capabilities, skills and knowledge of Security Institutions in their efforts to counter the manufacture and use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IED).
In addition, it was intended to strengthen cooperation between relevant security institutions within Kenya and see the cooperation with other IGAD Member States as well as enhance the scope for criminal information sharing and functional cooperation (e.g. joint training and operations, mutual legal assistance, harmonization of policies, practices and legal frameworks) within the country and beyond.
The training was officially opened by Commander Abebe Muluneh, Director of IGAD SSP. In his opening remarks, Commander Abebe highlighted that “The IGAD region has been a significant expansion in the manufacture and deployment or improvised explosive devices (IEDs) over the past decade, driven primarily by Al Shabaab. In addition, the manufacture and use of IEDs by violent extremist organizations (VEOs) continues to represent a persistent threat in Somalia and Northern Kenya” He further emphasized on the importance of controlling the components of IED by saying “Targeting IED components and their precursors is essential in understanding and disrupting the logistic chains and supply of IEDs”.
The training brought together 30 senior level security officials from Ministry of Defense through HPSS, various units from DCI including ATPU, BDU, CSI, and operations, Principal State Counsel, border management, immigration, airport security, ODPP, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The training was conducted by senior experts who have extensive professional work experience dealing with IED and the efforts undertaken to counter the threat. Accordingly, experts from UNMAS, US State Department Anti-Terrorism Assistance Program, Humanitarian Peace Support School (HPSS), Bomb Disposal Unit (BDU) under the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), IGAD SSP, and the Prosecution team from ODPP and Principal State Counsel have provided insights and shared their experiences. The lead expert was Mr. Gregory Robin, who has a vast knowledge and experience on the threat of IED in the region.
During the course of the four-days, the following topics were covered:
- IED as Transnational Security Threats (TSTs) - Efforts of IGAD SSP
- Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) fundamentals (Generalities & Terminology)
- Global and Regional IED threat level
- IED threat situation in Kenya and along the Kenya-Somalia border
- Zoom on the IED threat in Mandera, Wajir, Garissa and Lamu Counties
- The evolving and complex nature of IED – as used by terrorist groups
- Responses and challenges experienced in countering IED threat in the respective areas of operations
- Understanding the Al-Shabaab’s IED organization
- Description of the Counter-IED Strategy and Lines of Efforts - Pan African, regional, national elements of a strategic approach
- In-depth analysis of C-IED approaches - C-IED Intelligence cycle, Network analysis and targeting,
- Capabilities and limitations of Security institutions
- Legal framework surrounding prosecution of IED and other related CT cases
- Case Studies of terrorist cases’ prosecution and sanctions monitoring
The first day of the training also consisted of a briefing from HPSS and BDU followed by a static demonstration of the IED dummy components and equipments showing the capabilities of these institutions to counter the this threat.
At the end of the training, participants discussed in detail the way forward and charted out recommendation for relevant stakeholders at all levels - national, regional, and international.
In the closing session, Commander Abebe provided a closing remark by thanking the participants, the experts, the Government of Kenya for hosting and material support, and IGAD staff for their dedicated efforts and active participation to make the training a success. In his remark, Commander Abebe highlighted that “Kenya need to stress the importance of effectively securing conventional ammunition stockpiles in order to mitigate the risk of their diversion to illicit use as materials for IEDs in the hands of illegal armed group, terrorists and other unauthorized recipients, taking into account national capacities. In line with this, various organizations across the globe have the expertise that can be contribute to a useful set of measures for the mitigation of IEDs, and noting the value of considered and coordinated efforts by various stakeholders including IGAD, Africa Union, United Nations, and industry associations with a view to investing effectively in coordination and information exchange.” In this regard, he said that “IGAD strongly encourages Member states including Kenya, where appropriate, to develop and adopt their own national policy to counter improvised explosive devices that includes civilian-military cooperation, to strengthen their countermeasure capability, to prevent their territory from being used for terrorist purposes and to combat illegal armed groups, terrorists and other unauthorized recipients in their use of improvised explosive devices, while bearing in mind their obligations under applicable international law, and notes that the policy could include measures to support international and regional efforts to prevent, protect against, respond to, recover from and mitigate attacks using improvised explosive devices and their widespread consequences.
The training was concluded by providing certificate of participation to participants for successfully attending the four-days technical training.
One of the objectives of the IGAD Security Sector Program (IGAD SSP) is to enhance institutional and human capacities of Member States to effectively address emerging, evolving, and existing transnational security threats (EEE-TSTs) in order to contribute to regional peace and stability, and foster enabling environment for regional integration and development of the sub-region. Hence, this specific training was part of this objective in complimenting the efforts of the Member States, Kenya in this case, in countering IEDs that are used by terrorist groups and those that aspire to make them. The training was conducted with the financial support from the European Union Trust Fund (EUTF) through the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) under the IPPSHAR Program.