Al-Shabab attacks in Kenya surge 26% in 2022: Report

Nairobi (Caasimada Online) – In 2022, the al-Shabab terror group carried out 77 terror-related attacks in Kenya, resulting in a 26% increase compared to the 51 attacks reported in 2021, per a report by the Centre for Human Rights and Policy Studies (CHRIPS).

These attacks claimed the lives of 116 people, a 16% increase from the 100 fatalities recorded in 2021. Most of the people killed were civilians, accounting for 42 deaths. 

Concentration of attacks 

The CHRIPS report revealed that most attacks were concentrated in four counties on the Kenya-Somalia border. Mandera recorded the highest number of terror-related incidents at 37. 

Lamu had the second-highest number of occurrences at 21, followed by Garissa with 19 and Wajir with nine terror attacks. Shockingly, 50% of the attacks were targeted at security officers, continuing the trend observed in the past five years.

The report also shows that the number of attacks targeting security officials has increased significantly in recent years, with 16 attacks in 2018 and 2019, 41 in 2020, and 33 in 2022. 

Despite the increase in attacks, only 29 suspects were arrested during the period under review. Garissa county saw the most significant number of arrests, where nine people were arrested on suspicion of terror activities. 

The area has been facing security challenges with al-Shabab terrorists targeting security vehicles and some villages, including projects such as the Lapsset port and road.

The trend is a growing concern for the country’s security officials and counter-terror bodies, who need to continue putting in place measures to counter the ever-increasing threat posed by al-Shabab. 

Challenges in combating violent extremism

Rahma Ramadhan, a researcher at CHRIPS, observed that al-Shabab continues to pose a threat despite the government increasing measures to counter violent extremism in Kenya. 

The group mainly targets security officials on transit or patrol using various explosive devices, which has resulted in the death of many security officers. 

In contrast to the previous year, terror-related arrests were recorded in more counties in 2022, including Nyeri, Narok, Kwale, Tana River, Lamu, and Laikipia.