Kenya and the US have renewed their commitment to tackling terrorism in the region through increased funding, information sharing, and strengthening of institutions.
During a joint press briefing, Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta and Barack Obama said the global nature of terrorism requires a joint approach.
Obama said the US is working at increasing financial assistance to Kenya in eradicating al Shabaab from Somalia.
He said the renewed approaches will earn the partnership more progress in the war.
“We have systematically reduced the territories al Shabaab control within Somalia and weakened their networks in EA. Also we have to collaborate on intelligence sharing in dealing with the terrorism threat,” Obama said.
Responding to a question from the press, the US President however cautioned that the war on terrorism and violent extremism should not be used to violate human rights.
“We will ensure the approach we use to tackle potential terrorism threats does not become a problem in itself. If you paint any community with too broad a brush, you can increase risk of al Shabaab recruits,” he said.
Obama said the police force and judiciary need strengthening to have the upper hand in dealing with terrorism.
Uhuru echoed Obama’s sentiments saying Kenya is happy with the combined effort in the war on terror, but called for added cooperation.
“We are happy to partner with US to fight terrorism. So far we are satisfied with the relationship,” he said.
“The battle we are fighting is not a Kenyan war, we are just at the forefront,” Uhuru said, adding that part of the war on terror will involve strengthening the Somali federal government.
He noted that the recent reopening of Westgate shopping mall in Westlands, Nairobi, was aa testament to Kenya’s resolve in fighting terror.
On September 21, 2013, al Shabaab militia opened fire and hurled grenades at patrons in the mall killing 67 and maiming several others.