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Journal Article

‘Killing a Mosquito with a Hammer’: Al-Shabaab Violence and State Security Responses in Kenya

Published on 16 February 2017

Networked, transnational forms of violence pose a significant threat to peace and security in a number of sub-Saharan African countries. In recent years, Kenya has witnessed an expanding number of attacks involving Al-Shabaab – the Somali-based militant organisation. Kenya’s state responses to these attacks derive from a social construction of Somalis as a threatening presence, justifying a raft of hard security measures. However, this targeting has been counter-productive by driving a deeper wedge between Somalis, other Muslims and the state, and levels of Al-Shabaab violence have remained high.

Seen from the social and political margins that Kenya’s Somali and Muslim populations occupy, recent violence continues a long-standing dynamic of insecurity in which the state itself is a central actor. Internal stress relating to state-led planning of social order built on unequal citizenships and the use of violence, enmesh with the external threat of Al-Shabaab, producing the conditions for insurgency and violence to spread. Reducing violence and building peace require greater understanding of how violence and security are seen and experienced at the margins.

Cite this publication

Lind, J.; Mutahi, P. and Oosterom, M. (2017) ‘"Killing a Mosquito with a Hammer’: Al-Shabaab Violence and State Security Responses in Kenya', Peacebuilding, 5:2: 118-135

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Authors

Image of Marjoke Oosterom
Marjoke Oosterom

Research Fellow

Publication details

authors
Lind, J.; Mutahi, P.
doi
10.1080/21647259.2016.1277010
language
English

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Region
Kenya

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