Operation Linda Boni failed! Says Lamu Women Rep Shakilla Abdalla

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: Lamu women rep Shakilla Abdalla has said the Operation Linda Boni has totally failed in its mandate to deal with the Alshabaab menace in the county.

The operation was launched in September 15,2015 and has been in place for over two years now.

Speaking in Lamu town on Wednesday,Shakilla said the operation has been unable to flush out alshabaab militants believed to be hiding inside the Boni forest.

Shakilla said the county continues to be on the receiving end of the militia group since the operation was commenced with many security officers and civilians losing their lives due to the menace.

She said al shabaab attacks and raids have become rampant and that its hard to understand why that’s the case when the national government was spending money on the Linda Boni operation which doesn’t seem to bear any fruit.

Shakilla dared the government to come clean and tell Kenyans what the Linda Boni has so far achieved since the security of the county was still very much fragile.

“The operation has been in place for over two years and each time the government says its a success.Where is the success when the Alshabaab still strike at will and kill our people.How successful is this operation when locals have to flee from their homes and stay in camps.How successful is the operation when school have to be shut down and teachers pulled out due to insecurity.Its high time we really know exactly what Linda Boni is all about after all the government is spending a fortune on it,”said Shakilla.

Shakilla said Lamu had the highest number of security personnel and units compared to any other county in the country and wondered why the region still remains at the mercy of Alshabaab militants who strike at will and leave and will.

“The security is here infact too much of it.Yet the so called Alshabaab will come,kill and do all manner of things then leave at will.Not one is arrested.How are we supposed to continue believing that we are safe,”she posed.

The women rep blamed the security officers for harassing innocent civilians in their pursuit of the militants instead of concentrating on the mission which is to rid the county of Alshabaab.

Shakilla said she was aware that militants dont travel by air and most probably make most of their movements on foot and by road and wondered why the numerous police checks erected on the roads have not been able to apprehend them and stop them from entering the county in the first place.

“They don’t use planes.They come on foot and by road.The police are always on these roads.What happens and how do the militants find their way into Lamu in the first place.As Kenyans we need answers.We have a right to understand whats happening,”she said.

she also criticized the curfew saying it was a way of suppressing and intimidating civilians.

“We are telling the government to go into the Boni forest and fight Alshabaab instead of imposing unnecessary curfew,”she said.

She asked the government to get serious with border protection and poked holes in the security wall allegedly being put up on the Lamu-Somalia border and termed it a white elephant project that was merely meant to throw cold water on the volatile security situation in the county.

She opposed bombing of the Boni forest and said it wasnt the best solution to tackle the Alshabaab menace.