Nairobi News


Time to re-think city security

It would be naive to say that any power on earth can stop terror attacks once and for all.

The challenge of dealing with people who don’t value their own and others’ lives is  that they are not a standing army that can be attacked in its bases.

In a way, terrorists are a virtual enemy. You know they are there, but you can’t pinpoint their exact location.

The only way of tracking them is bugging phones, intercepting e-mails  and employing spies.

This does not come cheap, especially for struggling economies such as ours.

It calls for specialised equipment, satellite surveillance, highly-trained elite units, technicians and a 24/7 readiness.

Having said this, we believe that Saturday’s terror attack on the Westgate Shopping  Mall wasn’t altogether unexpected.

Over the years, The US and British embassies have been warning  that Westlands was a prime target for terrorists.

As such  it was always about when, how and why they would strike.

You didn’t need to be an intelligence analyst to be persuaded that the swanky suburb’s malls were irresistible to the sick minds that open fire on mothers, some of them pregnant, and children  just because  they are not Muslims.

So are we paying heavily for our failure to heed warnings by Western intelligence community seriously?

The answer is an indisputable yes.

If the mall was guarded  by our forces, the terrorists wouldn’t have shot their way inside so easily.

Armed resistance would have halted their progress, creating a window for reinforcement and chance to reduce the slaughter.

As our forces did a good job rescuing and evacuating the injured and the shaken, we  didn’t see what Americans call a lockdown.

Civilians continued to mingle with security men near the mall’s entrances.

We shudder to think what would have happened in a secondary attack.