Christian leaders have opposed the Government’s move to give a 10-day amnesty period to radicalised youth ready to denounce the Al-Shabaab terrorist group.
The leaders drawn from different churches said the youths do not deserve mercy because they joined the terror group willingly and some of them may have been involved in some of the attacks. “They took the oaths, and have in the past committed attacks in line with that radicalisation.
Any blanket amnesty is ridiculous and an affirmation that the Government is officially abetting terrorism,” said National Council of Churches of Kenya Secretary General Canon Peter Karanja.
He said it was wrong to extend amnesty to avowed killers who have not denounced the terror group. Their statement comes a day after the Government offered amnesty to youths who joined the Al-Shabaab terror group. Interior and National Coordination Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery asked the youths to report to county commissioners in Nairobi, Mombasa and Garissa for further directions within the next 10 days.
The amnesty promise came in the wake of several terror attacks that have claimed hundreds of innocent lives, mostly Christians, with the recent attack being at Garissa University College where 147 people lost their lives.
Wednesday, the leaders also opposed closing of the Dadaab refugee camp. Rev Karanja pointed out that refugees are victims of violence and poor governance in their own countries and are not necessarily terrorists, adding that their welfare must be taken into account even as the Government seeks to flush out terrorists.
“We are asking the Government to be sensitive about the suffering that may be occasioned to innocent people due to rushed action such as the one it is proposing. It is not fair to inflict suffering on people who are in distress themselves on account of the anger of Kenyans and the Government,” said Karanja. Rev Calisto Odede of the Nairobi Baptist Church called for formation of a commission of inquiry to probe the Garissa massacre.