Al-Shabaab, an al-Qaeda affiliated violent extremist organization, has been terrorizing southern and central Somalia for years. Recently, successful military operations by African Union forces have pushed many Al-Shabaab fighters out of Somalia and into Kenya; forcing them into areas that are difficult for friendly forces to access, such as the Boni Forest that straddles the Somalia-Kenya border.
In these remote areas where life is difficult and resources are limited, the support of the local population is essential for victory. Whoever has local support has the upper hand. Al-Shabaab cannot survive without local knowledge, advice, and support, similarly, the Kenyan government and military cannot triumph if local are providing support and safe-haven.
US teams working with Kenya Defence Forces partners in the area understand this population centric struggle and are working to better connect the Kenyan government and military with the local people to address their grievances, develop relationships, and counter extremist messaging.
The US team has identified the need for a Baraza. A traditional gathering of local leaders will help to identify local grievances, work collectively towards solutions, and inform communities about new government of Kenya initiatives in the region.
With your support Spirit of America can fund this event, improve the lives of the people in the Boni Forest, address local security concerns and, ultimately, help defeat al-Shabaab.
In recent years, communities in the Boni Forest of northeastern Kenya have been suffering at the hands of Al-Shabaab terrorists. Lately, the presence and influence of these terrorists has increased as Somali and AMISOM (the US-supported African Union Mission in Somalia) troops make gains against the terrorists and push them south, across the border. These … Continued