Civil Military Cooperation as a Strategy for Security Stabilization Operations: Case of Lamu County, Kenya
Kaberere, Alex Muthee
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Lamu County has had a security challenge resulting from the penetration of Al-shabaab militants who fled from Somalia when Kenya launched military operations in the country. The county has witnessed increased terror attacks, kidnappings and destruction of property. The county was favorable to the militia group due to the presence of Boni forest which has been used as a hide-out and training base and contributed to insecurity in the region. Thus, this study sought to assess the role of civil military cooperation in security stabilization of Lamu County. The study was guided by the Deutsch’s theory on cooperation and competition. The study employed a descriptive survey research design and targeted community leaders, ward administrators, religious leaders and officials from the security agencies and humanitarian actors. Stratified, Simple and purposive sampling adopted such that the final sample size was 132 participants. Primary data was collected using semi-structured questionnaires and interview guides while secondary data sources comprised of books, journals and e-resources. The response rate was 75.7% including 88 filled questionnaires from the 112 administered and 12 interviews conducted from the 20 scheduled interviews. The analysis revealed that the factors that had led to adoption of CIMIC included; continued instability in the county, due to increased terror attacks that had become rampant in the region. Other factors identified included collapse of lines of communication, economic sabotage, existence of sympathetic locals and the presence of youth gangs. The inability of the security forces to stabilize the region pushed the National leaders to consider CIMIC as a way of resolving insecurity and instability menace in Lamu County. On the CIMIC activities undertaken by the multiagency teams, the study found out that liaison activities were conducted where information sharing was encouraged including key leaders’ engagement forums. Other CIMIC activities conducted included quick impact projects (QIPs) ranging from sinking boreholes, repair of roads, building places of worship, health facilities and schools. The team also conducted outreach programs like medical camps to the residents and joint social activities to empower the local Lamu residents. The other activities included humanitarian assistance and protection programs for the general public especially large gatherings. On the effectiveness of CIMIC approach the study found out that it had aided in opening of lines of communication and strengthening the relationship between the various security actors through information sharing. The CIMIC approach has also helped to re-build the social lifestyle of the people and created opportunities for economic empowerment for the residents. The county has become safer and stable by rooting out criminal elements including terrorists, youth gangs and sympathetic locals. The local residents can now willingly share pertinent information with the security teams which has led to remarkable peace and stability in Lamu County. There is also reduction in crime rates, free movement in and out of the county, improved co-existence of the residents of Lamu as well as improved growth and development of the county. The study concluded that the use of civil military cooperation approach had improved the security and stabilization operations conducted in Lamu County. CIMIC approach has also contributed to peace and return to normalcy in the county. The study recommends that all the stakeholders from the multi-agency teams continue working together to further strengthen the realization of stability of Lamu County, Kenya.