KENYA’S Catholic bishops, urging citizens to remain united, asked the government to beef up security, especially in all educational institutions, and to address the breakdown in its intelligence system.
Responding to an attack that left at least 147 people dead at Garissa University College, the bishops also urged the government to “get to the bottom of this problem of terrorism and radicalisation with a view to proactively stemming such incidences from recurring.”
“It is saddening that many Kenyan youths are being radicalized to commit acts of terrorism against their fellow citizens,” the bishops said in a statement on April 8, six days after the attack by the Somalia-based al-Shabab militants.
“We all need to join efforts and embrace a spirit of nationalism and patriotism among all of us. It is unfortunate that some terrorists are living among us yet we are not reporting them to the relevant authorities. We need to respect the dignity of all,” they said.
The bishops said they would continue to pray for the family members of the dead students, staff and security personnel.
They also expressed gratitude “to all who have touched the lives of these people in one way or the other.”
Kenya has seen an increasing number of terrorist attacks since 2011, when the military joined an operation against al-Shabab.
The bishops said it was time for the nation’s institutions to ask how they should respond.
“How have we prepared our students and, by extension, all Kenyans, to respond under attack? How can we minimise casualties during emergencies? We call on the government to move with speed and, through the National Youth Service, provide mandatory emergency response training at all our learning institutions and to all other vulnerable groups.”