How the behavior of Kenyans makes it easier for terrorists to carry out attacks.

The Nairobi Assanand blast

On Monday, 28 May 2012, the normalcy and serenity of an afternoon in downtown Nairobi was broken by a huge blast, by local standards, at Assanand building along Moi Avenue. Thirty two people were injured and one life was lost. It was not the first terrorist attack on Nairobi and, unfortunately, it is not going to be the last. The following could be the objectives of the people behind Monday attack:

  • Just unleash terror by killing as many people as possible, on this; they succeeded in killing one and injuring over thirty people.
  • A test run to see how the authorities and our security agents are organized (disorganized), of which the actions of the commissioner of police Mr. Iteere and the government in general communicated a lot when they gave unverified and contradicting facts immediately after the blast. At first linking the blast to an electric fault then changing the story when Kenya power discredited this reasoning.

The security agents and the authorities should up their game in securing scenes of disaster and criminal events. There are rumors that the al-Qaeda has been overheard bragging that their agents remained around after the Assanand blast and passed themselves as journalists and even interviewed the victims.

  • To see how the public react and how they may be herded to a possible disaster through curiosity. The public did not disappoint by crowding around the scene of incident. If you watched the huge crowds at the scene, from the pictures streaming live on most media houses, one thing must have become very clear to you, Kenyans can let their curiosity lead them to their death.

 Picture this; with improved security checks on entrances to most buildings in the city, criminals might find it difficult to sneak in big explosive devices into such building. In order to have the highest impact possible, they can work the other way round, bring huge crowd to their explosive device. Such a device may be kept in a car parked on the street. The terrorists need only to interest and attract Kenyans to the device with a smaller incident before triggering a bigger blast after huge crowds have formed.

Improvised Explosive Device Discovered on Pale...

Improvised Explosive Device

Your security is your responsibilityAll said and done you should realize that your security is your responsibility. In such events you should overcome your curiosity, keep away and wait to see the events through the media. Experiencing such incidents firsthand may be interesting but might turn out to be the last thing you see.

Kibera slum Sub-Chief turns slum tourism into a cash machine for himself and his ‘boys’

English: Slum Kibera in Nairobi, Kenya.

Image via Wikipedia

Slum tourism is a form of tourism that is cutting a niche for itself in Kenya and Kibera (Nairobi) is the pioneer tourist site of this kind.But again,it is still controversial.There are issues to do with morality of people coming to look at the people living in abject poverty, as when they look at wildlife in game parks .

Meanwhile,people are making money out of it.Some in  very unorthodox means.Among those in this category,is a Sub-Chief  in Katwekera.He has created a syndicate, comprising of some youth gangs, that demands for a protection fee for any white visitor to the slum from the tourists handlers.Failure to which such visitors are attacked and robbed of their valuables.There are alleged cases.In one such case,some German tourists were attacked after their guide failed to make the payment.The good thing, though,is that the youths issue warnings in advance (mostly in form of threats) to those known to bring visitors to the slums.

If you plan to tour Kibera,especially if you are a white man/woman,ensure that your guide has made prior arrangements.He has to visit the sub-chief’s office and declare his intention to bring visitors to the ghetto and make the necessary payment to him (call it a bribe or protection fee,whichever term appropriate)

How your home’s location in a neighbourhood affects your security

English: Access road to Chevening House and Es...

Image via Wikipedia

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.

Confidence tricks in the streets of Nairobi.

The shell game, (a well known confidence trick...

The shell game, (a well known confidence trick) in action near Piccadilly Station, Manchester, March 2011 (Photo credit: Terry Waller)

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’.