ABSTRACT: Despite using traditional methods and weapons to wage attacks, terrorists have attempted to employ CBRN elements as an escalation of their tactics. Many authors and researchers have cast doubt on the possibility that WMD or CBRN elements will be used, to a significant extent in the future, by terrorists in their attacks. In fact, this is quite evident in the scarcity of research and literature in this area. Most governments and security apparatus the world over seem to acquiesce with the position adopted by the academia. This is indicated by the lack of proactive effort to prepare for such attacks. Despite attempts by various terrorist groups in the past to acquire, develop and use dirty weapons, it is quite unnerving to see those charged with national security responsibilities not taking any tangible steps towards preparing for such possibilities. The eventual effect will be an unanticipated attack that will be devastating in its magnitude of psychological impact and fatalities. By using secondary data and desktop research, this article reviews the interesting and often ignored notion that due to difficulties in acquiring and deploying a fully-fledged WMD capability, terrorists and other nefarious groups are able to get small quantities of CBRN agents. Such acquisitions could be used in small scale attacks but with huge and debilitating effects both physically and psychologically. The article reviews the various attempts by terrorist groups to acquire and use WMD but ended up using small quantities of CBRN agents instead due to the inherent acquisition challenges. Then a review of literature on scholarly work on the interaction of terrorists and WMD is made with a conclusion that the evidence points towards terrorists’ ability to use small CBRN quantities in waging attacks. It is this small quantity of CBRN agents that the authors refer to as ‘Dirty Weapons”; a variation of ‘Dirty Bombs”. The article further explores reported incidents in Kenya that point to such attempts and capabilities of terrorist to use of Dirty Weapons. Finally, the article concludes with a call to security managers and scholars not to ignore as fantasy the possibility of terrorist to use of Dirty Weapons; and to do more objective research on the matter.
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