Kenya programme funds dozens of mentors to work with 200 vulnerable people in bid to stamp out extremism

It’s morning in Majengo, a poor neighbourhood of Mombasa. The palm trees and swimming pools of the tourist resorts scattered around the coastal Kenyan city seem a world away from these narrow, rubbish-strewn streets and tin-roofed homes. In a small community centre, a small group sit on the battered wooden benches in the searing summer heat talking of extremism, police violence and gangs – and hope and courage.

Majengo already had a bad reputation before Islamist militants killed 21 in an assault in January on a luxury hotel, office and restaurant complex in the capital Nairobi, 500km away. The neighbourhood has long been known as a fertile recruiting ground for al-Shabaab, the Islamist extremist organisation based in neighbouring Somalia that is responsible for a bloody if intermittent terrorist campaign in Kenya.

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