The terrorist attack at Riverside Drive, Nairobi, on Tuesday, has resulted in the unfortunate loss of lives, while rescue efforts continued for well over 12 hours after the mid-afternoon incident.
The use of drones is banned in Kenya as the “Drones Regulations” (referred to as RPAS Regulations 2017), promulgated in October 2017 under Legal Notice 259, were subsequently nullified by the Parliamentary Committee on Delegated Legislation last June.
MPs cited a number of concerns — such as safety, security, charges, fines and lack of public participation.
While there are valid concerns that drones could be used to carry out terrorist attacks, there are various benefits that can be derived from them.
For instance, drones can save lives by carrying out rescue missions in a coordinated and efficient manner.
Drones are the ‘eye in the sky’ and can be deployed within minutes by a person trained in aerial surveillance and transmit accurate information to the security authorities.
That would help them to carry out a planned and coordinated rescue effort.
The unmanned aerial vehicles can also survey buildings within minutes and broadcast live feed to the security and rescue authorities during the day or at night, thanks to the advanced cameras that can provide clear images that cannot be provided by helicopters.
Drones are very powerful as they can stay in the air for up to 12 hours and a multiple number of them deployed at various locations for a 360-degree view.
Evacuation routes can be planned within minutes from the live footage and rescue teams dispatched at short notice, reducing the number of injuries and deaths as the location of victims and distress signals can be assessed by the machines.
It will enable key access roads to be cleared for emergency vehicles so that they can move with speed to and from the site.
Drones can be equipped with weapons and become a useful tool for security teams to safely enter into direct confrontation with the enemy.
Drone technology is a powerful tool to reduce the impact of terrorism-related activities and should not be feared.
The draft regulations should take into consideration security risks and enable only responsible people to operate drones, which are licensed by the authority.
Sanjeev S. Gadhia, CEO, Astral Aerial Solutions Ltd, Nairobi.
The Riverside Drive terror attack left me with questions. It’s incomprehensible that four gunmen can hold a number of security forces at bay.
I suspect that the US and most European countries are going to advise their citizens planning to visit Kenya to hold back their plans until the country is secure.
That would cripple our tourism sector. Our economy was growing, we are the business hub of East Africa, and one of the most promising states in Africa in various parameters. We should do better in the security docket.
Prince Victor Yoya, Kisumu.