Countering Involvement of Kenyan Children in Terrorism Through Realization of Their Socio-Economic Rights

Journal of Law and Ethics, Vol. 3, 2018,page 107

18 Pages Posted: 25 Nov 2018

See all articles by Irene Maithya

Irene Maithya

Moi University - School of Law

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: October 30, 2018


State and multinational efforts aimed at containing terrorism in Kenya have only yielded modest results despite the repressive nature of these efforts. The ranks of the foot soldiers of Al shabaab fundamentalist sects continue to swell even in the face of the ferocious onslaught on their membership by state troops. Abandoned by the state, coupled with poverty, children become easy targets for radicalization and are subsequently recruited into terrorist groups.

This article argues that poverty is the main cause that exposes children to abuse, criminalization and subsequent mobilization into terrorism. It argues that until the practices of rampant child abuse and state neglect of children as a vulnerable group is addressed through better education, employment opportunities and poverty reduction, Kenya is likely to remain a breeding ground of violent conflicts and persistent attacks by the terrorists.

The realization of the socio-economic rights of children has only been given the priority it deserves by the human rights groups as a way forward for the country of Kenya to counter the involvement of children in the terror groups. This radicalization of children must get the support from all the spheres of the country. The government must put in place the required strategies to achieve this. The rate at which Kenya’s youth are getting in the terror groups is alarming and the number is expected to rise if the realization of socio-economic rights of the youths is not urgently addressed by the state.

This article, therefore, focuses on this recent phenomenon of involvement of children in Kenya into terrorism activities. The article attempts to briefly explore the impacts of involvement of children in Kenya as a new challenge in relation to the discourse of child protection. With a view of mitigating the harm on the lives, well-being, survival and development of children in some parts of Kenya, the article sets outs viable solutions that should be considered in the fight against involvement of children in terrorism.

Keywords: Youth, Terrorism, Al-Shabaab, Socio-Economic Rights and Radicalization

JEL Classification: K10

Suggested Citation

Maithya, Irene, Countering Involvement of Kenyan Children in Terrorism Through Realization of Their Socio-Economic Rights (October 30, 2018). Journal of Law and Ethics, Vol. 3, 2018,page 107, Available at SSRN:

Irene Maithya (Contact Author)

Moi University - School of Law ( email )

Eldoret, 30100

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