Boni elders agree to bombing of Boni forest

Security officers patrolling the expansive Boni forest in Lamu County. Al-shabaab militants use the forest to launch attacks against civilian population in the area. PHOTO/FILE

Lamu,KENYA:The Council of Boni elders in Pandanguo area have unanimously resolved to allow the bombing of the Boni forest to flush out al shabaab militants with immediate effect.

This was agreed upon during an emergency meeting called by elders early Thursday morning,just a day after suspected Alshabaab militants raided Pandanguo and killed three police officers.

They elders agreed that the Boni forest which has been their lifeline for decades,had now become a security threat not just to the Boni communities living around but also to the entire county.

The elders said they will support any decision where the government opts to bomb the forest saying that they had experienced first hand what it means to live next to a forest inhabited by militants.

The elders who had initially sharply criticized Coast coordinator Nelson Marwa’s threat to bomb the forest,have now said they are willing to lend Marwa and his team all the required support and were willing to live without the forest but have a peace of mind.

The council spokesperson Adan Golja who is also the general spokesperson of the Boni community, said they were tired of the endless sleepless nights they have to endure and the constant disruptions to normal life due to the al shabaab menace.

Golja said the Boni forest was no longer holy and sanctified as before since the presence of the militants said to be hiding within had destroyed its purity and as such,the community saw no need of continuing to hold onto such a resource.

The Boni community who are traditionally hunters and gatherers have for decades depended on the forest for survival up until the forest was declared a no-go zone by the KDF, following commencement of the Operation Linda Boni.

The Boni forest is rich with food among them various species of edible wild animals,fruits,roots,honey and plenty of fresh water streams.

He said since the Alshabaab menace started ,the community no longer sees the importance of the forest as there is no peace and their lifes have been totally disrupted.

They said they had seen reason with Marwa’s libe of thought and that they would support him and any other concerned parties all the way through.

READ ALSO: Marwa warned to keep off Boni forest  

“We have decided that as a community,its okay for the Boni forest to be bombed thoroughly so that atleast these militants have nowhere to hide.If that will bring to an end the Alshabaab menace,so be it.We have lost enough officers and civilians and that’s enough.We as the Boni elders unanimously support the bombing of the Boni forest,”said Gol.

The elders now want Marwa and the entire security docket concerned to move in and act on the matter as soon as possible.

“They should move in and have it bombed even today.We wont complain,”said elder Ali Sharuti.

This comes a day after a group of over 200 suspected Alshabaab militants raided Pandanguo police post leaving two officers dead and injuring two.

The militants also stole household items,clothes,food and robbed the local dispensary of drugs and other nmedical supplies.