A Nairobi Muslim youth centre known inrecruitmentof terrorist organisations

Kenya: A Nairobi Muslim youth centre known in the past to have been a recruitment ground for terrorist organisations is facing its most serious crisis in its six years of existence. The Pumwani-based Muslim Youth Center (MYC), which is also identified as Pumwani Muslim Youth Centre or Al Hijra, has been on security forces‘watch lists for years. Some of its senior leaders and founder members are known to have died while fighting for the Al Shabaab in Somalia. Others are languishing in the Luzira Maximum Security Prison in Uganda, while others have been victims of hit squads. One year after the Westgate Shopping Mall attack, the movement blamed for assisting in carrying out the attacks is a shadow of its former self. Security agencies identify the group as the first local terror outfit. Founded in December 2008 by Ahmad Iman Ali, an engineering graduate from the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, MYC was initially a positive influence on Muslim youth around the country, with its model of economic and social activism combined with charity work. The roots of MYC are traced to Majengo, in Pumwani, a slum located a stone‘s throw way from Nairobi‘s city centre. It is from Majengo that the highest number of Kenyan fighters for Al Shabaab in Somalia are said to originate. The young Al Shabaab fighters are accused of planning to wage jihad (holy war) in Kenya and across the East African region. Pumwani has emerged as a kind of jihad hotbed.

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