World Bulletin / News Desk
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday vowed that his government would step up anti-terrorism efforts, going on to claim that many of those engaged in recent violence were foreign refugees.
"This is the time to oppose our legacy of tolerance against the evil innovation of radicalization, which insinuates that our war against terror is a conflict of religions or a battle of cultures – but it is no such thing," Kenyatta said in Swahili at a police graduation ceremony.
He added: "It is a war against vicious criminals – it is nothing more and nothing less."
He pointed out that, because Kenya hosts more than a million refugees, many innocent Kenyan lives had been lost due to the activities of militants who hide among refugees.
"We cannot take it anymore; people are taking our kindness for granted, while they are bringing death to Kenyans," Kenyatta said.
"I want to ask all Kenyans to fully support the government about what will happen in the coming days," he added.
Home to the world's largest refugee camp – the Dadaab camp, which hosts an estimated 470,000 refugees – Kenya has been hit by a string of bombings and armed attacks, mainly targeting security personnel.
The authorities have blamed the attacks on the Al-Shabaab group, which has threated to stage attacks in Kenya in response to Kenyan military involvement in Somalia.
Nairobi sent troops to Somalia in 2011 to pursue Al-Shabaab rebels.
Kenyan security agents allege that the Dadaab camp, located near the Somali border, has become a recruiting ground for Al-Shabaab.
Dismissing Al-Shabaab's demand that Kenya withdraw its troops from Somalia or face more attacks, Kenyatta asserted that this was not going to happen.
"Kenyans weren't in Somalia when terrorists bombed the American embassy [in Nairobi] in 1998; Kenyans were not in Somalia when they attacked Mombasa and shot at an aircraft in 2002," the president said.
Kenyatta also used the opportunity to declare a two-week amnesty for anyone possessing illegal arms to surrender their weapons.
"To those who are carrying illegal arms… we are giving you two weeks to hand them over and you will be pardoned," he said.
"After the two weeks, those who would have not done so will face the full force of the law," he added.
The Kenyan leader went on to urge parents, religious leaders and influential elders to return to traditional Kenyan ethics, which, he asserted, had long kept the country at peace.Last Mod: 05 Nisan 2014, 12:01