Ali Salim Gichunge, the leader of the terrorist cell that attacked the Dusit complex in 2019, was keenly aware of his communications. Detectives said he never contacted Somalia by phone, preferring to only use Facebook.
At the time, Gichunge’s profile, Gichunge aka Farouk, did not fit a terrorism profile, making him an ideal recruit for Al Shabaab made.
His background suggested a then-rising generation of terrorists whose background and ethnicity had no ties to Somalia. It also showed that larger attacks could be planned locally.
Today, however, the problem is compounded by Al Shabaab’s widespread use of social media platforms to further disguise their identities and recruit new members.< /p>
Just as Gichunge’s girlfriend, Violet Kemunto, prefers a Facebook account aliased to Junior Red, terrorists today use fake identities on social media to advance their agenda in full view.
They have it all on social media platforms, constantly spreading hate and radical teachings to anyone who wants to follow them.
Read: DCI Names 8 Most Wanted Al-Shabaab Terror Suspects< /strong>
They also use pseudo or affiliate accounts to spread conspiracy theories that elicit sympathy and support from governments around the world for their veiled call for terror.
Through statistics on Al Shabaab The recruiters ung is classified in Kenya, the agencies concerned have ca lls on online vigilance and calls on parents to monitor their children’s use of the internet and on adults to exercise caution to avoid radicalization are evidence of this that efforts to contain this threat are in full swing.
In 2016, two ISIS suspects Kiguzo Mwangolo Mgutu and Abubakar Jillo Mohammmed were arrested in Kangemi Nairobi and accused of distributing a document online , which purports to establish Jabha East Africa, and declared their allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bake Al-Baghdadi.
Police recovered various improvised explosive devices from their rented home in Kangemi used in the conduct attacks in Nairobi and Mombasa.
Terrorist recruiters have in the past used Kenyan girls between the ages of 12 and 17 for recruitment as Ki nd targeted brides to Al Shabaab and ISIS militias in Somalia and Mozambique.
Citizen Support Mechanism (CSM), an initiative supporting the implementation of the National Strategy to Counter Violent Extremism, notes terrorist groups also use overt propaganda and conspiracy theories thinly veiled as truths as materials for radicalizing potential recruits, particularly on the internet.
“Social media has been a great force multiplier in the rapid spread of conspiracy theories about many things and has created various online networks of echo chambers on specific issues, while allowing violent extremists to reach wider and more diverse audiences,” notes CSM.
One such conspiracy theory was circulated during the peak of Covid-19 Pandemic last year urging Muslims to avoid the vaccines because claim t assume they are weapons to exterminate them and sterilize their wives.
Others may take the form of declarations, justifications, and ideological directives – videos, virtual texts, audio files, as well as cartoons, music videos, and video games, developed by terrorists themselves or their sympathizers.
UN Office on Drugs and Crime report on “Using the Internet for Terrorist Purposes” adds that terrorists also use social media to launch attacks , including cyberattacks.