Kenya : DCI's Anti-Terrorism Unit is now ready for the job

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 5 – When terrorists stormed Dusit Complex in Nairobi on January 15, 2019, the Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti was among the first senior officers at the scene.

Kinoti arrived at the scene with a few officers who accompanied him to find police officers on patrol at the scene who had called for back up to tackle the terrorists–armed to the teeth–who were blasting the mall.

DCI boss George Kinoti issues orders to officers during the January 2019 terror attack at Dusit Complex.

A back-up of the elite General Service Unit and other armed officers from other police departments arrived shortly after Kinoti. 

It was then that Kinoti thought of coming up with an Anti-Terrorism Police Unit (ATPU) department within the DCI, that will be trained on combat, hostage evacuation and operational planning.

21 civiians and five Al Shabaab attackers were killed in the terror incident.

Six months later in June 2019, Kinoti formed a new team known as the Emergency Response Team (ERT) within the DCI, which started embarked on training on anti terrorism and combat.

And since then, the unit has been undertaking a series of training in preparedness to counter terror incidences in the broader endeavour of fostering the country’s security.

On target: DCI’s ERT Squad on a drill during training on June 4, 2020.

“We must rid the region and the world of terror cells, and strive to break all their networks internationally in order to realize our optimum growth capabilities,” Kinoti said Thursday, when he officiated the graduation of the unit that trained on tactical operations, combat, hostage evacuation, operational planning among others.

“The success in all terror fighting initiatives would not be realised without incorporating a well structured counter-terrorism staff development plan for the country,” he told the officers in the team.

An ERT squad member during a drill on June 4, 2020.

Kinoti is specifically keen to have a well-structured staff development plan for the country to overcome the terror menace.

He was accompanied, on the graduation ceremony, by ATPU Director John Gachomo.

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DCI boss George Kinoti and ATPU director John Gachomo inspect a guard of honour during the graduation of the ERT Squad. 

Kenya’s main terror threat is from the Al-Qaida linked Somali based Al-Shabaab terrorists who have continued to launch attacks, mainly targeting security forces on the border.

At the border, the attackers often use Improvised Explosive Devices, to launch their attacks, often killing their target, mainly security forces.

Kenya has faced a series of terror attacks, but the most notable ones were the April 2, 2015 incident at the Garissa University College in Garissa where 148 people, mainly students were killed. At 80 others sustained injuries.

It was followed by the Westgate Shopping mall in Westlands where 68 people were killed when terrorists launched an attack on September 21, 2013.

Then came the January 15, 2019 Dusit where 21 people and five attackers were killed.

Now with the launch of the new DCI’s ATPU department, Kenya’s strength in tackling terrorists just became stronger.

‘The team is ready and will be on standby always,” Kinoti said.


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