Sports ‘pro­tect the youth from rad­i­cal groups’

Idle young peo­ple are like a tick­ing time bomb, re­gional co­or­di­na­tor Saleh warns

The Star (Kenya) - - Counties - STEPHEN ASTARIKO @stephenAs­tariko

Sports is a good way of keep­ing the youth busy and pro­tect­ing them against rad­i­cal­i­sa­tion, North­east­ern lead­ers said yes­ter­day.

The lead­ers said idle youth are eas­ily con­vinced to join rad­i­cal groups, such as al Shabaab.

Last week, the Siyad foot­ball tour­na­ment fi­nals were held in Wa­jir town. The tour­na­ment started early last month and ended on Wed­nes­day last week.

Twenty teams from the county par­tic­i­pated. The event was spon­sored by Wa­jir busi­ness­man Siyad Has­san. The tour­na­ment at­tracted hun­dreds of youths, who con­verged at Wa­jir stadium to cheer their teams.

The theme of the tour­nam­net was ‘No Rad­i­cal­i­sa­tion, Yes To Peace’. Teams were awarded sporting gear. Haram­bee Stars head coach Stan­ley Okumbi, Tar­baj MP Mo­hamed Elmi, Wa­jir South’s Ab­dul­lahi Diriye and Nd­hiwa’s Au­gustino Neto were present.

Sev­eral of those in­ter­viewed by the Star wel­comed the move to en­gage the youth in sporting ac­tiv­i­ties, say­ing young peo­ple have be­come a soft tar­get for ex­trem­ist groups.

Sup­kem Garissa sec­re­tary Ab­dul­lahi Salat urged lead­ers from Man­dera and Garissa coun­ties to bor­row a leaf from Wa­jir and part­ner with the gov­ern­ment and the busi­ness com­mu­nity to host such tour­na­ments.

“We need to see more of these sports in our coun­ties. It should not be a one­off thing but a con­tin­u­ous event. In do­ing so, we will have some­thing to keep our youths busy,” the Supreme Coun­cil of Kenya Mus­lims of­fi­cial said.

North­east­ern re­gional co­or­di­na­tor Mo­hamud Saleh urged the lo­cal lead­ers to al­lo­cate funds for sports.

“Leav­ing youths idle is a tick­ing time bomb. We have in the past seen how they have be­come soft tar­gets, thanks to lack of employment and idle­ness. En­gag­ing the youth in sporting ac­tiv­i­ties will also nur­ture their tal­ents,” he said.

Garissa youth leader Hus­sein Salat ac­cused lo­cal lead­ers of do­ing lit­tle to en­gage the youth. “As much as I wel­come the ini­tia­tive by a lo­cal busi­ness­man to part­ner with the county to en­gage the youth, I think the lead­ers should do more to sus­tain it,” he said.

A new tour­na­ment in all the sub­coun­ties will start this week.

Speak­ing dur­ing the oc­ca­sion, Siyad urged the county gov­ern­ment to in­vest in sta­di­ums and train­ing cen­tres. “Sports is a pro­duc­tive way that can be utilised to keep the youth safe from so­cial vices such as drug abuse, rad­i­cal­i­sa­tion and other crim­i­nal ac­tiv­i­ties,” he said.

Wa­jir Gover­nor Ahmed Ab­dul­lahi has al­ready taken the first step by mov­ing the sports and youth docket to his of­fice.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kenya

© PressReader. All rights reserved.