Hundreds of Muslim faithfuls in Lamu held protests on Sunday disapproving a dusk to dawn curfew declared by the inspector general of police David Kimaiyo, over continued attacks by gunmen in the County.
Kimaiyo said the order required locals to remain indoors between 6:30pm and 6:30am to facilitate police and military operations in restoring security in the area, hit by a string of attacks recently.
But angry Muslim faithfuls termed the curfew oppressive and said it infringed on their constitutional rights to worship, saying it would tamper with their prayer programme especially in the ongoing holy month of Ramadhan.
They said they would defy the curfew and dared police to arrest them in the mosques where they prayed into the night.
Lamu governor Issa Timamy who addressed the protestors said he would have an emergency meeting with administrative leaders to seek a solution.
County commissioner Miiri Njenga confirmed they had formed an emergency committee to look into the modalities of resolving the stand-off, saying there could be slight adjustments to the curfew, to accommodate the Muslim worshipers.
He however insisted that the curfew had to be obeyed for the good of the locals.
In Mombasa civil rights activists gave the government a 48 hour ultimatum to withdraw the curfew or else they would go to court to have it reversed.
“If they don’t withdraw we will go to court under a certificate of urgency and use the constitution to have the order quashed,” Abubakar Yusuf, a Mombasa lawyer said at press conference organized by a group of civil organizations.
Leader of majority in parliament Aden Duale asked Muslims in Lamu and Tana River to disregard the order.
Police also banned night travel for both private and public motorists between Malindi and Lamu.