Is it true that Kenya has not experienced any terrorist attacks in the past one and a half years? 

By Sonia Uwase

According to Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua, Kenya’s security over the past one and a half years has been ‘good’, and that there has not been a single act of terrorism over the past year and a half. He made this claim in a speech he delivered during the Diaspora Engagement Forum held in Kigali, Rwanda, on 6 April 2024.


Kenya has over the years witnessed a number of terror attacks mostly carried out by al-Shabaab, a militant group based in Somalia that has pledged loyalty to al-Qaeda. The 2015 attack by the group on the Garissa University College that claimed the lives of 147 people, mostly students, is the second deadliest terrorist attack in Kenya – only behind the 1998 al-Qaeda bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi. In 2013, al-Shaabab jihadists opened fire and launched grenades in the Westgate Mall, killing 67 people and injuring many more. 

According to a UNDP report terrorism has had a significant impact on Kenya’s economy, specifically on the tourism industry, with a 1% increase in fatalities from terrorism decreasing tourist arrivals and earnings by 0.132%, representing an annual loss of about Ksh157.1 million in tourism revenues per unit increase in fatality for the country. According to the report, acts of terrorism lead to business closures and lay-offs, while foreign investors lose confidence in the country’s security.

In his speech, the deputy president assured the attendees of the Diaspora Engagement Forum that the safety of life and investment is no longer an issue. 

“We are on the right trajectory in the economy,” he said, assuring attendees that Kenya is safe and ripe for investment.


The Southeastern counties of Kenya bordering Somalia, mainly Lamu, Mandera, and Wajir, have witnessed coordinated al-Shabaab terrorist attacks targeting both civilian and police targets. According to a report by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project  (ACLED), March 2024 saw a tripling of attacks in Lamu and a doubling of events in Mandera compared to February 2024. 

Infographic April 2024 - Political violence involving Al-Shabaab in Kenya
The number of violence events involving al-Shabaab since January 2023 (SOURCE: ACLED Report)

A Situation Update dated January 2024 by ACLED further mentions that al-Shabaab carried out 37 remote, violent assaults, up to 26 attacks against security forces, and 11 against civilians in 2023. 

Kenya situation update April 2024
Source: ACLED

Gachagua himself has spoken about terror attacks in Lamu, and in a meeting with Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) president Martin Schulz at his residence in Karen on June 29, 2023, the Deputy President stated that al-Shabaab militants were behind a terror attack in Lamu County on 18 June, eleven days prior.


The claim by DP Rigathi Gachagua that there has not been a single act of terrorism in the past year and a half is FALSE.

Sonia Uwase is a journalist and researcher passionate about social activism. 

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