Causes and Consequences of Radicalization of Youth Population in Garissa County, Kenya
Dahir, Mohamed Burale
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Terror attacks and youth radicalization activities have been globally experienced in the recent past. The horrifying effects of youth radicalization and terrorism have been felt in USA and Europe especially in France, United Kingdom, Germany, and Netherlands. In Africa, countries like Nigeria, Cameroon, Libya, Kenya and Somalia have also experienced terror attacks due youth radicalization process. This research aimed at analyzing the causes and consequences of youth radicalization in Garissa County, Kenya. The following specific objectives guided this study: to establish the factors that influence youths in engaging radicalization, to determine the relationship between radicalization process and the global Islamic jihadist beliefs, to determine the socio-economic effects of radicalization process among the youths and to evaluate the government’s involvement and engagement in addressing the youth radicalization problem. The study adopted Mengisteab’s (2011) ethnic hierarchy model. The study used a qualitative and quantitative research approach with a target population of 841,353 citizens living in Garissa County and a sample size of 150 persons comprising 120 youths, 10 elders, 10 religious leaders and 10 government administrators was selected. The purposive sampling technique was used to select participants in the study. Data was collected using both closed and open ended questionnaires, interview schedules and focus group discussions. The qualitative data was organized in terms of content and themes then analyzed thematically by drawing meanings and inferences across each research question while quantitative data was analyzed using descriptive statistics using SPSS version 20 software. The research revealed that historical injustices in the region, cultural and ethnicity differences, peer influence, foreign influence, political injustices and dominances of one clan over the other, corruption in the government, unfair government policies, non-equity in terms of job opportunities and distribution of economic resources influenced the youths in engaging in youth radicalization. The study also found that there was no relationship between youth radicalization and Islamic jihadist beliefs. The research established that youth radicalization led to decline in enrolment of students in the learning institutions depriving the youths of their education rights, and loss of lives. Youth radicalization was also found to propel intertribal conflicts resulting to poor community interactions and political instability. Government involvement in youth de-radicalization was noted in sensitisation programmes, beefing up security in the region and empowering the youths. The study concluded that youth radicalization led to decline in enrolment of learners in schools depriving the youths of their education rights. The study also concluded that youth radicalization activities led to insecure economic environment, destruction of properties, business closure and economic sabotage. The study recommends that both national and Garissa County governments should provide the youths with quality and specialized education and training that empower the youths to be self reliant. The study also recommends the need to check on the spread of falsified prophesies and teachings of Islam especially the use of Jihad as the spiritual fight against evil or as a practice of upholding the moral teachings of Quran. Finally, the study recommends that both the national and county governments should offer more attractive programmes in de-radicalizing trainings, youth development programmes and rehabilitation programmes.