Save our children from radicalization, Marsabit parents tell state, blame five Sheikhs

Parents in Marsabit have decried the high rate of youths being recruited to join the al Shabaab.

They said a good number of their children have disappeared without a trace and are suspected to have joined al Shabaab.

They have blamed five Sheikhs for being involved in radicalising the youths into terrorism.

“Since these Sheikhs began their teachings herein Marsabit, we have noted a negative change in the behaviour of our youth, especially those attending the private Madrassa of these specific Sheikhs. The youth have become unruly, some have left school claiming that Western civilization is against the religion and all they talk about is hijra (going to Somalia to fight),” complained one parent.

They said the sheikhs hide under the pretext of teaching the youths solemn Islamic principles.

A parent at Taqwa Integrated School who sought anonymity said most of the radical Sheikhs also visit schools over the weekends where they lecture students on radical ideologies.

He said the Sheikhs are granted access through the assistance of the Islamic Religious Education (IRE) teachers at the respective schools.

Last week, the government said it has a list of 35 youth from Mandera who had been recruited by Al-Shabaab to aid the Somali-based terror group in carrying out attacks in Kenya.

North Eastern Regional Commissioner Mohamud Saleh said the individuals were well known to the locals.

He said the individuals have families in Kenya and have been crossing over from Somalia to meet to their families before sneaking back to Somalia.

Saleh warned that unless the locals collaborated with the government in exposing the militants, the war on terrorism was far from over.

“Unless you leaders come out and take the lead in restoring and maintaining security in Mandera, the region will never recover from insecurity,” Saleh told peace committee elders from six sub-counties of Mandera County on January 28.

Some parents said their daughters have also opted to join the outlawed group to be married off as jihadi brides.

So far, one of the suspected radical sheikhs Guyo Gorsa has been arrested.

Gorsa has reportedly been using his status as the presiding Imam for Tawba Mosque and a madrasa teacher at Taqwa Integrated School to radicalize unsuspecting youth into al Shabaab.

He is also accused of sexually harassing some of his female recruits.

“He impregnated my daughter last year and when I confronted him, he denied. My daughter has since disappeared. She told me she was going to see a friend in the nearby village and she never returned. I suspect Guyo has something to do with her disappearance,” a parent complained.

Investigations revealed that Guyo started engaging in recruitment activities since early 2008.

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