With operation linda inchi, by Kenya Defense Forces, going on in Somalia,the danger of Kenya being hit by a terrorist attack can not be over estimated,especially now that Al-shabab has officially joined hands with the much experienced Alqueda.
The security operators and the public at large have now and again been reminded by the police and the army spokespersons not to let their guard down.private citizens are an important component in the fight against terrorism, especially on giving information to the law enforcers .There are many terrorist attacks around the world that have been foiled as a result of vigilance of the citizens.
Some of the behaviours you should watch out for as a member of public as far as acts of terrorism are concerned are:
1)Surveillance activities-efforts to collect information on vital installations,buildings or highly populated facilities.These may include taking photos,drawing maps,making enquiries on security systems and organisation etc.Although sometimes is difficult to tell when data being collected is for legal and harmless reasons, like tourism, and when it is for planning terrorism attack, but usually the interests are obviously different.The former may be interested in artwork while the later may be interested in the security cameras.
2)Possession of sensitive items-Weapons,communication systems like radio and satellite phones,military or police uniforms.It should worry you that items that are normally in the hands of the military and the police are in the hands of people of questionable character.It should never worry you that your judgement might turn out to be wrong.Better false alarm than overlooked signs of danger.
3)Unusual behaviors-Overdressing for the weather i.e putting on heavy clothing in very hot weather,awkward bulges under clothes,abnormal sweating,short temper,uneasiness etc.Also refusing to be frisked by security is another obvious indicator.
4)Unusual packages-packages or suspicious objects left at strategic positions unattended,packages with protruding wires or emitting odour or smoke or mails that are too bulky.All these need to be handle with care.Never try to find out what such items are by yourselves.Evacuate and call the police
5)Restricted interactions-Isolation is an important ingredient in making and maintaining a terrorist.Avoiding people for example neighbours in flats including restricting the kind of people entering their homes.If staying in a hotel, these kind of individuals may refuse to be given room service as they try to hide their illegal items.
6)Impersonation-Using faked documents like passports and IDs.Also people arriving,especially in public buildings, to do maintenance that is or was never mentioned to the people working their.Another form of impersonation is being at the customer service area but not asking for help
7)Expressing extremist views-Such views may include intolerant religious or political views or expressing a will to kill or be killed for such extreme positions
You should bear in mind that even as you become vigilant as a responsible and patriotic Kenyan, that it is not possible to identify a terrorist by ethnic group or appearance.This has been made clear by recent arrests on terrorism activities in the country.It is behavior that you should profile not individuals’ ethnic or religious background.
- Britons warned over Kenya threat (bbc.co.uk)
It is true that security is one of the things you consider before buying or renting a house in a neighborhood.But it is also true that more often than not you do not become detailed in your analysis of a prospective home.You may be one of the many who are satisfied with the image the estate carries as a whole, as far as security is concerned.You should realize that security is never,even in the same neighborhood,homogeneous.An estate can be described generally as secure but each housing unit has unique particulars, some of which can make it more attractive to criminals than the rest around it.
For example , your prospective home may be bordering a river or a forest – like Karura in Nairobi.These locations may be a blessing in terms of natural vicinity, but may be a curse too.Criminals have been known to use rivers and forests as safe passages which are hardly under surveillance from law enforcers.Also having a vacated or undeveloped property next door should call for your attention.
Along with the general consideration on security, like whether the housing unit is in a gated estate or not,standalone or apartment and the standing of the neighborhood in the city,the knowledge of the unique aspects of a prospective home in the estate will make you decide more wisely.In case you are persuaded enough to close the deal,-regardless-you will be in a position to shop for appropriate security solutions.
Nobody is completely immune to confidence tricks. More often than not, the only thing the con artist needs to achieve his goal is your one minute of attention and one of the normal human characteristics like greed, dishonesty, honesty, trust, compassion, ignorance etc. Most resultants of these confidence tricks, in Nairobi, have been losing of money, phones and other valuables. But in recent times, more dangerous forms of confidence tricks have come up. Some people have been lured into isolated areas then kidnapped for ransom, some raped and even organ harvesting done on others.
Some of the tricks common in the streets of Nairobi may include but not limited to;
• Feigned acquaintance-Someone approaches you in the streets and introduces himself as someone known to you. They even greet you in your mother tongue. Some of the pieces of information they use to get your trust is what they gather after putting you under surveillance for a short time as you walk through the street. For example they will eavesdrop as you make phone calls.
• Someone stranded in the city-This is another common trick where someone claims to have come to the city but cannot locate their host and they have no money to buy bus ticket back home. They beg you to either pay for their fare back home or find them a place to stay. If you offer to pay, they will, as a sign of genuine need, ask you to accompany them to the booking office so that you pay it yourself. This is a way of taking you to an isolated place for an attack.
• Offer of drugged food and drink-This is very common in the public transport vehicles. Some sex workers, too, apply this trick in order to steal from their clients.
• A prophetic messenger– The man/woman of God will trick you into either surrendering your money/valuables willingly or lead you to an isolated area.
• A staff of shop offering to sell you an expensive item from the shop at a half price-Someone will approach you and introduce himself/herself as staff of the shop from which you want to buy. They will offer to sell you the same item at a half the normal price through the back door, out of the boss’ eye. If you fall for it, they ask you to pay and wait some distance away for the delivery. You will not get the delivery of course. Always remember, ‘If the deal is too good, think twice ‘
• Dumb looking individual looking for help to exchange foreign currency-This is where you are inspired to be the conman yourself. A dumb looking fellow approaches you for help in either exchanging a lot of foreign currency or selling of valuable stones. In the process of you trying to out-cheat the con, you fall into their trap.
It is not impossible that with all your caution that you can still find yourself a victim of ‘too good deals’ in the streets of Nairobi. Con artists always think way ahead of their mark (victim). The best way to avoid the above tricks and others is to keep the rule, ‘Do not entertain strangers in the streets of Nairobi’.