President Uhuru Kenyatta recently announced such plans amid the surge of terror the Islamic militant Al-Shabaab is perpetrating in the East African country.
“Recent reports that Al-Shabaab has infiltrated prisons and is actively recruiting in prisons are cause for concern, but whether separate prisons are justified remains questionable,” said Irene Ndungu, a Nairobi-based researcher with Institute of Security Studies (ISS).
She noted the Kenyan government already faced serious criticism from human rights groups.
It has also been condemned for arbitrary arrests, detention and the prolonged pre-trial detention of terror suspects, who reportedly also face torture and abuse while in custody.
“Previous counter-terrorism responses by the government have largely tended to be reactionary rather than proactive in approach, and therefore unpopular and unsustainable,” said Ndungu.
Kenyatta’s plans follow reports prisons were becoming breeding grounds for terrorists as terror convicts mixed with other inmates.
Shimo la Tewa GK prison in Mombasa and Kamiti Maximum Security Prison in Nairobi hold Kenya’s largest number of inmates associated with terror offences, said to be 240.
The former holds approximately 160 suspects accused of carrying out terrorist attacks, radicalisation and violent take-overs of mosques.
Kenya is under siege from Al-Shabaab terror group, which has killed thousands in a violent demonstration against the presence of Kenyan soldiers to preserve peace in Somalia.
In April 2015, gunmen stormed the Garissa University College killing 148 people and and injuring more than 80.
– CAJ News