Home Grown Gangs VS Terrorism

Allow me to echo this statement from the United Nations Secretary General-Antonio Guterres which states “I am convinced that the creation of open, equitable, inclusive and pluralist societies, based on the full respect of human rights and with economic opportunities for all, represents the most tangible and meaningful alternative to violent extremism”. This statement resonates well with the pull and push factors or triggers into violent extremism.


It always gets confusing for me to get to differentiate between a home grown gangs and Terror attack. We have witnessed several cases of ‘terror attacks’ from the western society which are claimed to just be mass shootings and ‘lone wolf’ actors probably mental ill individuals, since the motives of the attacker is unknown. This keeps me wondering again what the difference on the same is. For instance the recent attack on 1st October 2017 in Las Vegas shooting by Stephen Craig Paddock, a 64 year old which led to the loss of about 59 people leaving over 500 injured. May the souls of the departed rest in peace. The investigative agency called it mass shootings and not terror attacks.

What of the attack that happened on 22nd July 2011 in Utoya-Norway shootings by Anders Behring Breivik, a 32 year old which led to the loss of 68 people leaving 100 injured. May their souls rest in peace. This attack at first was regarded as a ‘lone wolf’ and mentally ill person but later classified as a right wing extremists

So what’s the difference between the two?

Can a home grown gang become a terrorist or vice versa?

I even don’t know the difference, but what I know is if there is violence, regardless of the form of weaponry, then that is in one way or terrorism.

The United Nations describes terrorism as: Criminal acts intended or calculated to provoke a state of terror in the general public.’ I believe that the two cases had an intention and were calculated to its maximum to achieve a desired goal.

According to the recently launched report by UNDP entitled ‘Journey to Extremism in Africa: drivers, inceptives and the Tipping point for recruitment’ elaborates and never sugar coated on its findings on violent extremism. The report depicts the exact picture on the ground.

I also agree that violent extremism globally is a diverse phenomenon, without clear definition. The global society should join hands together in the fight against violent extremism and call it as it is regardless of where the attack happened, whether south or north, Europe or Africa, Asia or America and regardless of which color of the skin carried it out. Let’s not only call it a terrorist attack if it is orchestrated with Fazul or Mohammed from Africa.

We can all agree that home grown gangs are slowly growing and are creating tension and havocs in our countries.

Isn’t this also a terror attack?

I don’t know, what do you think?


Evans Ouma

Stretchers Youth Organization

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