Terrorism and the Kenyan public

Volker Krause, Eric E. Otenyo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Since 11 September 2001, terrorism has been a global security threat. One of the partners in the war on terrorism is Kenya. Considering Kenya's recent experience with terrorist acts, their effects on its public psyche, and Kenya's reactions to them in domestic and foreign policies, this study presents perceptions on terrorism from an exploratory survey in Kenya. Respondents feel most threatened not by terrorism but by AIDS and local criminals. Among terrorist acts, the most threatening include suicide terrorism, a plane crash, and stabbing attacks. Media reports on terrorism not only intensify feelings of anxiety and helplessness but also strengthen feelings for both peaceful and revengeful reactions. In order to prevent terrorist attacks, routine security checks, recognizing a Palestinian right to statehood, and intelligence collaboration with the CIA and Mosad are considered the most effective measures. Kenya's commitment to the war on terrorism may be less a response to Kenyans' perceptions of terrorist threats than a policy to support the United States against terrorists in exchange for U.S. support against AIDS and for political stability, democracy, pluralism, and economic development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-112
Number of pages14
JournalStudies in Conflict and Terrorism
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Safety Research
  • Political Science and International Relations


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