Israeli offers counter terror expertise to Kenya as police seek new equipment


Ten Israeli security firms have offered to provide security consultancy, intelligence and counter-terrorism expertise to Kenyan government and private security following a series of deadly raids which culminated in the killing of at least 147 university students two months ago.

According to Kenyan media reports, the private Israeli security firms which specialise in counter-terrorism, cyber-security, VIP protection and intelligence gathering for both military and civilian security purposes were invited to Nairobi by Israeli ambassador to Kenya Yahel Vilan to take part in an expo dubbed ‘Israeli Homeland Security Business Seminar.’

The expo was held last week. Vilan said the companies chose to exhibit in Kenya because of its strategic position and vulnerability to terrorism on account of its long and porous border with Somalia, which has been the source of all major terror attacks that hit the country since the deployment of the Kenyan Defence Force (KDF) in Somalia to fight the Islamist militia Al Shabaab in October 2011.

The ambassador said Israeli security firms have the vast experience Kenya needs to combat terrorism and prevent terror attacks such as the 2013 attack on a Nairobi shopping mall and the recent attack on Garissa university.
“Israel has developed expertise tactically in almost all aspect of homeland security. We do not want to limit ourselves in this. We will engage the Government of Kenya at a later stage,” Vilan said.

The seminar, which was attended by private Kenyan security firms, also focused on other recurrent internal security threats which include cattle rustling, money laundering, tribal conflicts, corruption, political and civil unrest.

Israeli security firms which attended the security expo include Dignia, Magal S3, Mer Group, Security Division, Mifram, Supercom, X-Test. Terrogence is a specialist counter-terror intelligence gathering outfit.

According to the latest Kenyan police report on terrorism, at least 312 Kenyans have been killed in terror-linked attacks between 2012 and 2014. All the attacks were claimed by Al Shabaab which has insisted that they will continue until Kenyan withdraws its army from Somalia.

Meanwhile, the Kenyan Police Service (KPS) last week cancelled a tender for the supply of three new helicopters and the overhaul of three unserviceable Mi-17 helicopters. The police did not give reasons for the cancellation, which came after the assessment of various products offered by global aircraft manufacturers since September last year.

The service also has two American-made Bells – a 407 which was written off, and a 206 which is reported to be in a serviceable state. Last year, the police announced plans to lease at least five helicopters to resuscitate the air wing to fight terrorism while it seeks its own aircraft but none have been delivered so far.

Apart from the helicopters, the police are also seeking to boost their arsenal with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), armoured personnel carriers, patrol boats and armoured ambulances.

Police commanders said armoured command and control vehicles are required to co-ordinate ground and aerial patrols along the Somali border.

In addition, the police also want to acquire new radio communication systems to be used at local and national levels. Several companies have offered their products but it remains unclear if those tenders have also been suspended.