In a siege that sent shock waves across the globe, the Somalia-based al-Shabab militia, linked to al-Qaeda, recently stormed Westgate Mall in Kenya, shooting, slaughtering and maiming shoppers. At least 72 people, including Ghanaian poet Kofi Awonoor, were killed. The gory incident was a sick reminder of the September 17, 2013, attack by Boko Haram in Benisheik, Borno State, Nigeria, where about 142 people were slaughtered. These two incidents have heightened tension across the globe.
The increasing siege by terrorists everywhere should reawaken the world to this global scourge and turn our minds to the fact that the rest of the world is losing to the mindless few. These attacks announce the vulnerability of the world and beckon on the international community to think through a more robust, holistic engagement with our disgruntled brothers and sisters in this global village. We must not abandon collective and collaborative efforts to step up intelligence gathering, tighten security at airports, and places where people gather for fun, relaxation, sports or business. Nowhere is immune to this sacrilege of hate and bloodletting.
It is sad that Kenya is being targeted because of its role in stemming terrorism in Somalia by joining the African Union force that drove the al-Shabab militia out of Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, and for assisting a local militia to oust the extremists from the southern port city of Kismayo. The result is that al-Shabab has been greatly weakened in Somalia, and a year-old federal government has the best chance in decades of stabilising the country. The world should not leave President Uhuru Kenyatta at this hour of grief nor forget Nigeria distressed by security challenges.
In the Nigerian case, the heartless group has vowed to make more states fail. The supposedly dead Shekau has "resurfaced" to claim he was the mastermind of the midnight massacre of September 17, one long month after security forces said he had been mowed down in Sambisa Forest on the Cameroonian border.
The world should unite to halt this drift to Armageddon through diplomacy and all means possible. The propagation of fundamentalism clothed in religious dogma and violence should not be given any place in a civilised world.