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Kenya’s Leader Receives Report on Combating Terrorism

FILE - Kenya's president, Uhuru Kenyatta, Sept. 2, 2014.

Kenya’s presidential spokesman says a parliamentary committee has given President Uhuru Kenyatta a report that aims to clear legal and administrative obstacles hampering the administration’s fight against violence by armed groups such as the Somali Islamist group al-Shabab.

Manoah Esipisu said Kenyatta asked the Parliamentary Committee on Defense and Security this week to review the country’s security architecture to come up with recommendations to help clear hurdles that impede the fight against terrorism.

Esipisu said the report recommends tough measures to strengthen the government’s commitment to combat terrorism and protect civilians’ life and property.

“The president asked for recommendations that would ensure there is a better if you like environment in which security agencies deal with terrorists,” said Esipisu.

“The country is at war and when you are at war you need to ensure that you are in a position to combat your enemy in a way that is complete. We cannot put the lives of Kenyans in any more risk and the measures the president has received and on which he will apply his mind will be able to go a long way in dealing with some of the issues,” he said.

Kenyatta asked for the parliamentary report after the latest massacre of 36 Kenyan citizens by al-Shabab militants at a quarry in the country’s northern border region last Tuesday.

Parliamentarians were scheduled to go on recess for the Christmas holidays, but Kenyatta asked the legislative body to extend its current sitting following the latest attack, according to Esipisu.

“The parliament has obliged, and has extended its sitting by 14 days so logically, one would expect that we would present [the report] to parliament within that time,” he said.

Some Kenyans have expressed concern that attacks by al-Shabab militants could increase, especially during the Christmas festivities. They said gatherings in specific places such as churches and bars to celebrate the holidays could make “attractive soft targets”.

Esipisu said the government is determined to protect citizens despite the threat of attacks.

“Our security alertness if very high, we remain very alive to the real threat that we could be attacked…But, I can say that this government is determined to safeguarding citizens, and it would continue to do so,” said Esipisu.

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