Terrorism is a phenomenon that is rampant worldwide today and stopping this terrorism is the desire of every government all over the world.
Mr Kenyatta said the new prison would stop extremist Islamists in Kenya, linked largely to the Somalia terror group al-Shabaab, from radicalising other prisoners.
“We will establish a new prison to hold violent, extremist offenders – the truth of the matter is that we cannot allow them to spread their poison to vulnerable Kenyans,” he said in a speech to graduating prison officers on Tuesday.
Mr Kenyatta gave no timeline for the establishment of the new facility, which would also ease overcrowding in notoriously unpleasant Kenyan jails. Kenya has also suggested it will build a wall along the border with Somalia to prevent attacks on its soil which have increased dramatically since Kenya joined the African Union force fighting al-Shabaab in 2011.
Local reports drew allusions with the deeply controversial American facility of Guantánamo Bay in Cuba, where suspected terrorists from around the world have been held since the 9/11 attacks.
Former detainees of “Gitmo”, as it became known, complained of alleged torture, sexual degradation, forced drugging and religious persecution being committed by US forces.
Kenya has already faced criticism for the heavy-handed treatment of suspected extremists which has included violent raids on Somali populations near the border and in the capital Nairobi following attacks claimed by al-Shabaab on the Westgate shopping mall and Garissa University.
Anneli Botha, a terrorism expert at the Institute for Security Studies in Pretoria, said while it was advisable to keep suspected extremists separate from ordinary prisoners, the key was in the implementation.
Dedicating a wing of one of Kenya’s established prisons might be quicker and more effective than trying to construct a new prison from scratch at the height of the terror crisis in Kenya, she added.
“It’s a massive mistake to keep ordinary prisoners and suspected radicals together and if you look back at previous attacks, in Spain and elsewhere, you see that some are carried out by people who were previously common criminals and were radicalised in prison,” she said. “I hope however that they don’t have the idea of Guantánamo in mind because that facilitated radicalisation around the world in the way it was done.”
Last year, Britain’s Quilliam Foundation called for segregation in UK prisons to prevent non-jihadi inmates from becoming radicalised.