Mombasa, Kenya

BACKGROUND

Mombasa is the second largest city in Kenya after Nairobi, despite being the smallest county among Kenya’s 47 counties in land mass, with a population of over 939,370[1]. The cultural diversity and coastal location of the county make it a primary destination for tourism, but has also made Mombasa vulnerable to violent extremist groups in the past. As a result, the County Government of Mombasa has worked independently and in coordination with the National Government of Kenya, civil society and local communities in Mombasa to address this trend. This multi-stakeholder and collaborative approach has contributed to a decline of violent extremist activities in the past years. Mombasa is a founding member of the Strong Cities Network (SCN) and has been a member of the SCN Steering Committee since its launch in 2015 under the leadership of H.E. Governor Hassan Ali Joho, sharing its lessons learned with other members from across the globe.

[1] https://invest.mombasa.go.ke/page/demographics

NATIONAL OVERVIEW

Since the 2011 military intervention of Kenyan Defence Forces into Somalia, youth radicalisation and recruitment have become a core security concern of the country. Kenya has been the target of multiple terrorist attacks, with more than 200 cases of violent incidents involving explosives or automatic weapons linked to Al Shabaab between 2011 and 2015. In 2013, gunmen attacked the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, killing 67 people, taking 36 hostages, and injuring 175 people. In 2015, Al-Shabaab launched an attack at Garissa University, killing 148 students and staff.

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LOCAL OVERVIEW

Mombasa County has suffered some of the worst cases of violent extremism in the recent history of Kenya. 25 attacks, the majority conducted by Al-Shabaab or Al-Shabaab sympathisers, have been recorded in the last 20 years, including the 2002 November terror attack on an Israeli-owned hotel. Mombasa is considered a hotspot for terrorism, with numerous high profile arrests and plots uncovered from 2012.

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