World must unite and confront as one the menace of bloody terrorism


China might seem like a safe redoubt a world away in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks. Yet it is evident that the security agencies are on a higher level of alert. I suddenly see more uniformed and plainclothes police on the streets and markets of Guangzhou.

President Xi Jinping has pledged support for global coordination against terrorism, while Security minister Guo Shengkun has instituted stricter surveillance on borders and airports as well railway stations, shopping malls, schools, and entertainment joints.

The ministry has particularly warned that China is not spared the terrorist threat. It has its own suspects that have illegally left the country for Syria and Iraq to join up with the Islamic State for indoctrination and training before returning to plan and conduct terrorist attacks at home.

“China is facing the same threats from IS as France and must prepare for similar terror attacks, which were well-planned and targeted multiple locations at the same time,” said Li Wei, an anti-terrorism expert at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations quoted in the State-owned Daily News.

The deadly terrorist attacks that scarred the French capital serve to remind the world that no person, no country, no region, and no continent is immune from the deadly modern-day scourge.

France and neighbouring countries in Europe that are similarly threatened will be entitled to move firmly and swiftly against the large support networks that provide the breeding ground for terrorism.

The institutions and communities that provide succour and shelter for those of ill intention will be under increased scrutiny.

This will be the natural reaction not just in France, but also across the world wherever the threat of violent Islamic extremism hangs heavy in the air.

The Paris attacks on Friday that killed 129 people came not long after the October 31 crash of a Russian tourist charter flying out of the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheik, believed to have been brought down by a bomb placed aboard by terrorists. It killed 224 people.

The two incidents so close to each other are a stark reminder of the malevolent hand of a terrorism hiding behind religion to spill blood.

The only option for the civilised world is to unite and confront as one the purveyors of a bloodlust that seeks only to spread mayhem, terror, destruction, and death.

The terrorism now afflicting the world may have its origins in the Palestinian struggle for statehood, but it now seeks only to wreak terror in the name of religion.

Those who seek to impose their beliefs on the world through terror must be fought with the only weapons they can understand.

We in Kenya have suffered terribly and continue to be under the threat of the Al-Shabaab terrorist group out of Somalia that now we can no longer deny is firmly domiciled within our borders.

The war against terrorism at home must, therefore, be seen in a global context. Al-Shabaab in our region and Boko Haram in Nigeria and neighbouring West African countries will only be conquered through a coordinated global effort.

The Paris attack highlights the level of infiltration, and security agencies will be duty-bound to pay closer attention to the support networks that allowed the carnage to take place.

Already it has been found that at least one of the attackers sneaked into the country in the on-going wave of large-scale Syrian refugee flight into Europe.

Kenya is already familiar with the spectre of refugee camps hosting dangerous elements and must be prompted to direct extra attention to the enemy within.

If all of us are united against terrorism, then we must be willing to play our roles. This means having to make sacrifices and enduring some inconveniences and even giving up some creature comforts.

There will be many who might say right now that France, Russia, and other nations are paying the price for meddling in the Middle East, that Kenya is targeted for its incursion into Somalia.

Those might be issues of academic discourse but will matter little when the bombs and bullets start landing on our heads.

The most urgent thing right now is to eliminate the merchants of terror before they cause more death and destruction.