Kenya is set to become the first country outside the United States to host the US-funded Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF).
This was announced on Monday by the US State Department which stated that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is a partner in this initiative whose aim is to build the investigative capacity of a country “on the frontlines of terrorism.”
Under the initiative, a group of 42 investigators drawn from Kenya will undergo an intensive 12-week counter-terrorism training course at the FBI Academy in Virginia.
The training will enable the Kenyan investigators to learn the methods used by US-based joint anti-terrorism task forces in responding to sensitive counter-terrorism information shared with the Kenyan government.
“The investigators will be trained and equipped to investigate all terrorism matters deemed of significant importance to Kenya’s National Security Council,” the State Department said.
After completing the course, the officers will return to Kenya where they will be assigned an FBI Special Agent mentor, the department added.
The idea to create a Kenya-based Joint Terrorism Task Force was mooted following the January 15th, 2019 al-Shabaab attack on the DusitD2 complex in Nairobi, where 21 people died and several others injured.
The State Department indicated that investigations carried out by the Kenya-led task force “will be carried out in accordance with international law enforcement standards and in comportment with human rights.” Cases will be prosecuted in Kenyan courts.
Charles Spencer, the FBI Assistant Director of the International Operations Division said: “The FBI is proud to have the opportunity to work with our Kenyan law enforcement partners on this initiative. The first Kenyan JTTF will allow for a sharing of experience, knowledge, and capabilities that will enhance our shared commitment to countering terrorism around the world."
On his part, Kenya’s head of Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) George Kinoti said: “Due to globalization and the rapid advancement in technology, terrorists and their sympathizers have also changed tactics and devised new methods to further their agenda. Endeavors such as the Kenyan Joint Terrorism Task Force will allow for a multi-agency approach to achieve common objectives and assist us in obtaining the upper hand against the enemy.”