Leaders in Lamu want security officers in the county to stop profiling and targeting certain communities in the area in the war against terrorism.
Political and religious leaders who spoke to journalists on Monday alleged there was no fairness in the manner police had been contacting counter terrorism crackdowns since last year’s Mpeketoni attacks which left at least 60 people dead.
They accused police of targeting specific communities and religious leaders who they branded as terrorists.
“You can’t address terrorism by acting like one. When you have old men abducted from their homes, torture them until they can’t even speak, then you drop them back, are you not acting like the terrorist himself? It’s uncouth,” Julius Ndegwa, Lamu East member of parliament, said.
Ndegwa, who was accompanied with local Muslim leaders, claimed several young men had vanished after being picked up by police for questioning over terrorism, describing it as ‘internal terrorism’.
Police have in the past denied claims of extrajudicial executions following accusations from civil society groups and families whose loved ones have either disappeared or killed.
“We are not against the fight on terror but we demand that it be carried out with utmost professionalism and humanity and equality,” said Ndegwa.
A local Muslim leader said they lived in fear due to the incessant and careless arrests.
“We are ready to tell the police what we know might help in this war on terror….. The habit of targeting a specific community is only making people keep the information they have to themselves, which isn’t helping,” said Idarus Alwy, head of a local mosque in Lamu.
Last week, a planned tour by president Uhuru Kenyatta to Lamu was cancelled and pushed to next month, from what sources hinted could have been security concerns.