Transnational terrorism in East Africa: a qualitative and quantitative analysis of the recent rise in Kenyan violence
Muhwezi, Andrew M.
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This thesis analyzes recent trends of transnational terrorism in East Africa. It assesses the background of domestic and international terrorist attacks in the region from 1998 to 2012. The study then quantitatively analyzes regional trends, using data drawn from the Global Terrorism Database (GTD) showing dramatic increases in levels of terrorist violence from terrorist organizations like Al-Shabaab. Based on Al-Shabaab’s propaganda, conventional wisdom suggests that the recent increase in transnational terrorism in East Africa is attributable to Al-Shabaab’s retaliation for countries’ troop contributions to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). In contrast, the analysis presented here is based on the hypothesis that a causal relationship exists between large flows of Somali refugees and increases in terrorist violence. Evidence shows that Al Shabaab operatives disguise themselves as refugees to cross borders and evade detection. Refugee populations are used as sources of recruitment and as safe havens for planning and executing terrorist attacks, particularly in Kenya. Recommendations include: (1) intensification of information operations and human intelligence efforts, (2) strengthening of the Joint Counter Terrorism Center by establishing strategies for deterrence and disruption of transnational terror networks, and (3) coordination of regional actions for countering terrorist threats attributed to Somali refugee communities.
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