- Giving returnees a second chance is one of the strategies being employed by different countries to combat terrorism.
- Lack of a legal framework has been a major hindrance to encouraging returnees to give themselves up and enrol in the deradicalisation programmes.
Reports of a bill to provide a legal framework for reintegration of Al-Shabaab returnees in the society is good news.
At the Nation Leadership Forum held recently at the University of Nairobi, National Counter Terrorism Centre director Martin Kimani spoke on the need to rehabilitate the returnees as a strategy in countering terrorism, a monster that has evolved into the biggest threat to national security.
The Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (Supkem) has relentlessly called for such legislation.
While in 2015 the government gave amnesty to those who denounced and abandoned terrorism, lack of a legal framework has been a major hindrance to encouraging returnees to give themselves up and enrol in the deradicalisation programmes.
Despite the state-run rehabilitation programme, many former Al-Shabaab fighters are sceptical of the amnesty over reports that some of those who surrendered were killed, allegedly by security agents.
Studies show the motive of many who join violent groups as more of personal and economic than ideological. This explains why many youths who went to Somalia are jobless and from economically deprived areas.
Giving returnees a second chance is one of the strategies being employed by different countries to combat terrorism.
It has proved to be effective in addressing the threat of terrorism, as integration is the only chance to keep a close eye on the returnees, lest they return to their past ways.
Failure to provide a conducive environment for those ready to renounce their past activities have an added danger of leaving them vulnerable to criminal groups, which could exploit that to nudge them back to crime.