Al Shabab and Kenya: the role of space and place in shaping manifestations of terrorism

Ms Linet  Muthoni1
1Griffith University School Of Criminology And Criminal Justice  , Bowen Hills , Australia

Terrorism studies have not been sufficiently sensitive to the unique role of geography and local dynamics in shaping manifestations of terrorism at the meso level within countries. The focus has mainly been on individuals, groups and country level explanations of terrorism, implicitly assuming that country-level analyses are generalizable across different regions within countries. This article adopts a spatial criminology perspective in analyzing the spaces within which terrorist activities occur by considering cross-border movement, recruitment, and attacks, by Al Qaeda’s East Africa affiliate, Al Shabaab in Wajir and Kwale, towns located in the north-eastern and coastal regions of Kenya respectively. The diffusion of violent extremist ideology and activities over physical and virtual spaces as illustrated by ISIS in the recent past, inform the need to develop a framework to analyze perspectives of terrorism at the meso and micro levels. Additionally, understanding the influence these spaces have on the nature of terrorist activities is important in developing resilience strategies for the spaces and the communities within them


Linet Muthoni is a Ph.D. candidate at Griffith University School of Criminology and Criminal Justice. She has research interest in manifestations of violent crimes in developing countries as well as terrorism. Before enrolling at Griffith University, she taught Public International Law and Alternative Dispute Resolution at the Faculty of Law in Strathmore University in Kenya. Prior to that, she studied law at the University of Kent, Canterbury and the Catholic University of Eastern Africa. Linet also worked as a defense legal investigator in the matter of the Prosecutor v. Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta before the International Criminal Court.


Dr Kholofelo Mothibi1
1University Of Venda, Thohoyandou, South Africa

The aim of this study was to assess the effectiveness of the measures in the prevention and control of organised crime by government agencies based in Limpopo Province. The research was qualitative in nature and semi-structured interviews were conducted with 12 law enforcement officers from the DPCI, DSSL, SAPS, Home Affairs, SARS Customs and Excess, AFU, and the NPA PCLU. Data was analysed though thematic analysis. The results revealed that government strategies in Limpopo still require concerted efforts in the prevention and control of organised crime. The government has identified measures to fight organised crime and has adopted the criminal justice response/ institutional and the legislative response to the crime. Measures taken by various units are found to be ineffective in dealing with organised crime since organised criminal networks are often flexible, dynamic, innovative and resilient. Furthermore, corrupt activities and collusions by law enforcement officers hinder the effective implementation of the strategies to control organised crime. The study highlighted poor implementation of the multi-agency approach as one institution is expected to facilitate and lead the prevention of organised crime. The findings further highlight, for example, that the smuggling of illegal cigarettes is currently a challenge for the provincial government as a highly committed organised crime. The study recommends for the development, by the government, of an Organised Crime Threat Assessment in order to effectively recognise the need for responses The study further recommends the adoption of relevant multi-agency approaches in addressing organise crime – both operational and policy or regulatory.


Dr Mothibi attained a Bachelor of Arts at the University of the North (now the University of Limpopo) in 2004 and Bachelor of Arts Honours (Criminology) in 2005. In 2007 she obtained a certificate from Rhodes University qualifying as an accredited assessor.  Studied for the Master of Arts Degree in Criminology at the University of Limpopo and the degree was awarded in 2008. In 2012 she completed PhD in Criminology and the degree was conferred in May 2013.  Later completed Masters in Public Administration (MPA) at the Turfloop Graduate School of Leadership (TGSL) in 2016. Currently employed as a senior lecturer and Head of Department in the Criminal Justice Department at the University of Venda and was previously Head of Criminology Department and senior lecturer at the University of Fort Hare (Alice Campus), and worked at the University of Limpopo the 10 years. Beyond research successes, Dr Mothibi has a wide range of teaching and research experience and taught both undergraduates and postgraduates courses (Specialises in crime prevention, policing, victimology, criminological theories, community policing and individual crime studies). Has extensive experience as a postgraduate supervisor and has successfully supervised 24 honors students (mini-dissertations) and 5 masters dissertations and 1 PhD; currently supervising 4 honors, 3 masters’ students and 1 PhD. Papers have been published in an accredited and peer reviewed journals and also reviewed various papers published in accredited journals.    Currently serving as Criminological Society of Africa (CRIMSA) secretary (2018-2020).


“A combination of extortion and civic duty”: Reconsidering gangs in ‘weak state’ communities

Richard Evans1
1Deakin University, Geelong, Australia

Gang Studies is an emerging field in criminology. Most scholarship on gang-like groups focus on the local and the particular, and the complex and nuanced nature of gangs does demand this approach. However, it is also true that there are strong patterns of structure, function, origin, and behaviour in gangs which seem to hold despite otherwise large differences in ethnicity, language and culture. In this paper, I attempt to sketch a universal model of gangs — the circumstances in which they will arise, and the forms that they will take.

Drawing on comparative examples, including the Mungiki movement of Kenya and the ormas groups of post-Suharto Bali, I explore implications for how criminologists think about gangs, crime and policing in ‘weak state’ urban communities, where the formal institutions of government are ineffective. I argue that many assumptions about gangs distort understanding and need to be challenged.

Richard Evans is a Lecturer in Criminology at Deakin University. His research interests include gang studies, policing, violence prevention, mental health and crime and media.

Risk terrain modelling of contemporary Violent Dissident Republican activity in Belfast

Zoe Marchment1, Paul Gill1
1University College London, London, United Kingdom

There is extensive research to suggest that most terrorist offenders are rational and purposeful in their decision making. They will make carefully calculated decisions that are utility maximising and likely to increase their probability of success. These decisions are based on perceived rewards, effort and risk. There have been several analyses demonstrating spatial and temporal variation in risk of terrorist attacks, and most conclude that terrorism is spatially concentrated. However, these spatial analyses were unable to identify the causes of these hotspots – just the fact they exist.

Risk terrain modelling (RTM) was created to assess risk by analysing the level of opportunity a location may offer to an offender seeking a target. Each location has an associated value to an offender, which is determined by the opportunity for crime that it offers. RTM can be used to identify the locations that have the greatest perceived opportunity and therefore pose the highest level of risk.

This study uses RTM to examine the influences of social and physical context on target selection for Violent Dissident Republican activity in Belfast. This method identified multiple significant risk factors for bombings and bomb hoaxes, and differences between the two incident types. The model shows good predictive accuracy in identifying the areas of a city most at risk of a terrorist attack and could be a useful tool in guiding targeted responses to associated threats.

Zoe is currently a final year PhD candidate at the Department of Security and Crime Science, UCL. Her research examines the spatial patterns of terrorist target selection, with a focus on lone actors and Violent Dissident Republican activity. She holds a BSc in Psychology and MSc in Countering Organised Crime and Terrorism. Zoe has worked on projects for the UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory; Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats (CREST); FP7 Preventing, Interdicting and Mitigating Extremism (PRIME) and the VOX-Pol Network of Excellence.

Dr. Paul Gill is a senior lecturer in Security and Crime Science at University College London. Previous to joining UCL, Dr. Gill was a postdoctoral research fellow at the International Center for the Study of Terrorism at Pennsylvania State University. He has over 50 publications on the topic of terrorist behaviour. He has conducted research funded by the European Research Council, Office for Naval Research, the Department of Homeland Security, DSTL, the European Union, the National Institute of Justice, CREST, Public Safety Canada and MINERVA. These projects focused upon various aspects of terrorist behavior including the IED development, creativity, terrorist network structures, and lone-actor terrorism.

Impact of the audiovisual executions of the Daesh in the processes of radicalization and jihadist recruitment according to the target audience.

A Trespaderne Dedeu1, M Soria Verde2, N  Querol Viñas3, J de Pablo Bribian4
1University Of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain, 2University Of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain, 3University Of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain, 4Generalitat de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain

Audiovisual executions of Daesh are a method of propaganda and they influence the process of radicalization and recruitment. The professionalization, creation, edition and diffusion in the audiovisual of the terrorist organization, has alerted the academics and international institutions. This research analyses the structure of the executions according to the target audience, identifying endogroup, shared ideology or outgroup, being its opposition. The analysis of who they are targeting, allows to establish what criteria the terrorist organization Daesh uses in the construction of the audiovisual to influence the target audience. Having this knowledge, encourages the development of counter narratives as a mean of counteracting and demystifying the propaganda used in the processes of radicalization and recruitment. The sample studied were 12 executions carried out between 2014-2016, using the Protocol of Analysis of Executions of DAESH (PAED) created ad hoc. The variables analysed have been; the victim, the aggressor, the type of execution, the geolocation, the crime scene and the audiovisual, verbal and non-verbal communication elements. The results obtained reveal significant differences in the victim, number of cooperators during the execution, the use of minors during the executions, the type of violence, the reason for the execution, methods of intimidation, physical position, synthetic elements of the audiovisual and communication between victim and aggressor. In conclusion, the results show the differentiation of the characteristics in the audio-visual performances of the Daesh according to the target audience.

Ariadna Trespaderne: Criminologist and social integrator. Master in Profiling and Criminal Behavior Analysis. Master in Crime Analysis and Prevention. Coordinator of the area of ​​criminology and criminal psychology and responsible for the research department of the Community of Intelligence and Global Security. Co-Director of the Observatory for the prevention of violent radicalization.

Miguel Ángel Soria Verde: PhD. In Psychology. Professor of Legal Psychology, Criminal Psychology and Avanced Criminology in the Faculties of Psychology and Law. Director of Profiling and Criminal Behavior Analysis  Master and Legal and Forensic Psychology. Expert in criiminal forensic cases of homicides, rape and child sexual abuse. He has published more than 70 articles and chapters. He has participated in 12 books: Criminal Psychology,, Manual of Legal and Investigative Psychology, Forensic Penal Psychology (Athelier), Violence & Family Homicide, Profiling and Criminal Behavior Analysis and Geografical profiling and more. Forensic researcher in violent crimes (domestic homicide, child pornography, stalking, women trafficking and terrorism).

Nuria Querol i Viñas: Doctor and criminologist, specialist in Cell Biology and Genetics and Biosanitary. Master in Family Violence Treatment. Director of the Observatory of Violence towards animals. Professor of the Prof. Profiling and Analysis of criminal behavior at the University of Barcelona and other international universities. Studies in Psychopathy and Criminal Investigation. Advisory Board Member of the National Sheriffs’ Ass. Member of the NSA / FBI Working Group on NIBRS. Mimebro of the Global Society of Homeland & National Security Professionals & Global Center for Public Safety.

José Miguel de Pablo Bribian: Senior Agent Specialist in Prevention and Investigation of Forest Fires of the Rural Agents of the Generalitat de Catalunya. Member of the Support Group for the Administration of Justice of the Rural Agents of the Generalitat de Catalunya.





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