Lamu,KENYA:Coast Regional Coordinator Nelson Marwa has warned that all passenger and private vehicles plying the Lamu-Mombasa route without armed police escort will be apprehended and their licenses withdrawn.
Speaking in Lamu,Marwa said he was aware that some vehicles were leaving and coming to Lamu without the much needed escort.
He said drivers who make such deliberate mistakes not only endanger their lives but also those of other passengers.
Marwa said all vehicles be they public or private including school,church buses and others must all undergo police checks at the various check points on the road and travel under armed escort.
The Regional commissioner said he had already issued orders for police to intercept such vehicles and the owners prosecuted for endangering lives.
Marwa said security was the mandate of everyone and asked residents to only use vehicles that have police escort.
“We must have a structured way in which vehicles operate along the Lamu-Mombasa road. As you are aware, no vehicle should leave Lamu without police escort. We have our police checks on the road and vehicles must also undergo all these security checks. We have thousands of vehicles operating on the Lamu-Mombasa road and we can’t have police officers on every vehicle. That’s why we came up with the issue of convoy being escorted by our security officers. Everyone must adhere to this,” said Marwa.
He said it was a punishable crime for any driver to evade police checks on the road since such a move can easily allow criminals to come and leave Lamu without police noticing.
Marwa however assured the public in Lamu of their security and said police patrols have been intensified on the route.
He also called for vigilance and asked locals and travelers to report any suspicious persons or activity on the route to the police.
The decision for armed police escorts for passenger vehicles travelling in and out of Lamu was introduced by the late Interior CS Joseph Nkaissery following increased attacks and attempts on passenger buses by Al-Shabaab militants that left several people dead between 2014 and 2015.
On July 19, 2014, a Tahmed Bus was attacked by suspected Al-Shabaab militants at the Mambo Sasa forest in Witu where seven people including four police officers were killed on the spot.
On December 21, 2014, a Tawakal bus heading to Mombasa was attacked by suspected Al-Shabaab militants at the Lango la Simba in Witu but no one was killed during the incident.
On July 13 this year,a group of over 30 heavily armed suspected Al-Shabaab militants hijacked a Toyota Prado carrying Public Works PS Mariam El Maawy and other five occupants at Milihoi area along the Lamu-Mombasa road.
The PS was shot and injured while five other people who were with her including her personal bodyguard and niece were killed.