Security beefed up in Lamu as Idd-ul-fitr is marked

Lamu Muslims praying at the Twaif Grounds in Lamu town as they mark Idd-ul-Fitr. PHOTO: NATASHA NEMA.

Lamu, KENYA: Security has been beefed up in Lamu Island and its environs as hundreds of Muslims in the county join the rest of the world to mark Idd-ul-Fitr.

The event is celebrated to mark the end of the Holy Month of Ramadhan.

A heavy police presence has been witnessed in various parts of Lamu Old Town, which is the main Muslim hub and a tourist destination.

Addressing journalists in his office on Monday, Lamu County Commissioner Mr Joseph Kanyiri said they have mobilized resources in ensuring peace prevails during Idd-Ul-Fitr celebrations.

Mr Kanyiri said security officers were on high alert and that they will provide 24 our security system in mosques and all public places where the Muslim faithful are converging for prayers as they celebrate Idd-ul-Fitr.

He called on locals to be vigilant and report to security agencies if they spot any suspicious individuals anywhere in the county.

Mr Kanyiri also appealed to the public to ensure they cooperate with the security apparatus in ensuring peace prevails in the entire Lamu.

“There is nothing to worry about. Police are on high alert and have been deployed everywhere in Lamu and the borders of Lamu and Somalia. We want our Muslim brothers and sisters to celebrate Idd-Ul-Fitr uninterrupted. Our officers are providing 24 our security system in mosques and all public places and even in hotels and guest rooms. I am aware that many visitors have already come to Lamu for the Idd-ul-Fitr celebrations. L;et them feel at home,” said Mr Kanyiri.

Inspection of passengers on roadblocks has also been intensified on the main Lamu-Mombasa road with passengers coming into the county being frisked by armed police at each of the check points.

The County Commissioner also advised religious leaders in mosques within the Lamu archipelago to keep a keen eye on their worshippers in order to detect criminals hiding among them as Idd-Ul-Fitr celebrations continue.

Mr Kanyiri also ordered hotel, restaurant and bar owners in Lamu to ensure all those coming to such premises undergo thorough checks.

He said there is need for such premises to keep an up to date record of all visitors coming into their places for security reasons.

Mr Kanyiri said criminals have devised a technique where they hide among worshippers and in hotels and restaurants where they pose as innocent clients.

“We must be careful with the visitors and clients we receive in our premises or places of worship. Lets all keep our eyes open and be very keen with every detail,” said Mr Kanyiri.

He said those travelling to Lamu must also arm themselves with all necessary legal documentation including Identity cards and Visa.