Shootings in Nairobi mall, effect on U.S. national security

Ryan Derham
Co-Global Editor

In the aftermath of the shootings in the Nairobi mall in which 67 people died (including 18 foreigners), several important questions have presented themselves. For one, tourism revenue in Kenya has lost a potential $200-$250 million. Tourism is Kenya’s largest source of income, and as a tourist destination, this is a substantial blow to the economy. What does this mean for the future of developed African nations? Within the country there is hope for recovery, but other issues associated with the bombings prove to be additional obstacles. The shootings were a result of the Islamist militants, Shabab, to gain power and initiate religious warfare. Some people in the mall, on acknowledging their Muslim identity, were spared. Following attacks in 1998 and 2007, Kenyan residents proved their resilience. But, these attacks have shaken the nation and recovery, especially economic, from this is questionable. This year tourism rates will drop rapidly, and a newly established middle class may, once again, find themselves struggling. Whether or not this proves to be a step backwards remains to be determined.
This incident, despite taking place on foreign ground, does have implications here at home. Somalia’s Shabab group has infiltrated social media in order to garner followers. YouTube has a video posted titled “Jihad rap” aimed at recruiting young United States citizens. Shabab has the capacity to conduct highly effective and organized operations, and as recruits in the U.S. rise, fear of an attack in the U.S. is on the minds of counterterrorist organizations. In the wake of several shootings this past year, and the Boston marathon bombing, we should expect terrorist activity. Signs pointing to events such as these are not always intervened with beforehand, but these attacks in Kenya should initiate investigations on homeland security. Gunmen are still missing, bodies are still unrecovered and there is a lot of mystery surrounded what happened. These unanswered questions should be seen as warnings for the future of Kenyan national safety as well as here in the United States. If we do not heed these warnings, we risk other terrorist activity within our country.



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