Boni community denies harboring al shabaab militants

A past picture of Boni residents. FILE/PHOTO

Lamu,KENYA:Members of the Aweer community commonly referred to as the Boni in Lamu county have denied claims that they are aiding Alshabaab militants to conduct attacks in the area and various parts of the county.

They were reacting to sentiments made by Coast regional director Nelson Marwa who said the members of the community were harboring and aiding the militants in their dubious engagements.

Elders from the community who spoke to the media on Tuesday, expressed disappointment with Marwa’s sentiments terming them unfair and untrue.

They said the community hasn’t and will never cooperate with any criminals who kill and wreak havoc in the lives of fellow human beings.

They say since the launching of the Operation Linda Boni in  2015, they have cooperated with the security agencies conducting the operation by giving crucial information that has been of great help  and has seen the officers make great strides in the operation.

The elders now want Marwa to apologize to them saying such allegations paint the community in bad light and might make them a target by security officers in the county.

The community inhabits the Milimani,Basuba,Mararani,Mangai and Kiangwe villages all in Lamu East.

All the villages have apparently been imposed with a curfew.

While making the announcement on Monday,Marwa also urged those living around the Boni forest to vacate in order to give way for the operation.

The elders pledged innocence and said the community didn’t not know the identity of the terrorists who have been conducting attacks in the county.

They said Marwa’s allegations had brought fear and tension among members of the community.

“We are so angered by the allegations made by Marwa that we hide and aid Alshabaab.We feel due to such allegations,security officers might start harassing us especially the KDF.We are already afraid of the militants as it is and now we have to live in fear of the KDF too?,”said Ali Abdi.

They want the government to stop targeting the community in the war on Alshabaa in the county.

Many have fled the villages following Alshabaab attacks that have left over 13 dead in Poromoko,pandanguo and Jima areas in the last one week.