Kenya has been chosen as the site for the first US-funded Joint Terrorism Task Force to be located outside the United States, the State Department announced on Monday.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is a partner in this initiative to build the investigative capacity of a country “on the frontlines of terrorism,” the State Department said.
The announcement follows President Uhuru Kenyatta’s meeting with President Donald Trump at White House last week.
The two leaders’ discussion had focused on another prestigious designation of Kenya as the first sub-Saharan country to begin negotiations on a bilateral trade deal with the United States.
A select group of 42 Kenyan investigators will take part in an intensive 12-week counter-terrorism training course at the FBI Academy in the US state of Virginia.
Methods used by US-based joint anti-terrorism task forces will be imparted to the Kenyan team to enable it to respond to sensitive counter-terrorism intelligence shared with the Kenyan government, the State Department said.
“The investigators will be trained and equipped to investigate all terrorism matters deemed of significant importance to Kenya’s National Security Council,” the US side noted.
Upon completion of the course, the Kenyan officers will return home, where they will be assisted by an FBI Special Agent mentor, the announcement added.
The move to create the Kenya-based Joint Terrorism Task Force took shape following Al-Shabaab’s attack 13 months ago on the DusitD2 Hotel in Nairobi, the US noted. That incident resulted in the loss of 21 lives.
Investigations conducted by the Kenya-led multi-agency task force “will be carried out in accordance with international law enforcement standards and in comportment with human rights,” the State Department said.
Cases will be prosecuted in Kenya’s courts, the announcement added.