GSU boss threatens Lamu elders with death over Alshabaab

A section of elders in Lamu PHOTO FILE

Lamu,KENYA:Nyumba Kumi elders of Kilimani area in Mokowe town in Lamu County are living in fear after they threatened with death by a top police officer in the county.

The elders said they were summoned by the top GSU boss in the county and told they would be killed if ever there was a terror attack in the area.

Security officers are said to force the locals to produce Al-Shabaab terrorists.

A few weeks ago,a GSU camp in Mokowe was attacked by suspected Alshabaab militants at night with the officers at the station managing to repulse the attack sending the militants scampering into the night.

The Nyumba Kumi elders who refused to be named for fear of victimization said eight of them were summoned this week at the GSU camp in Mokowe by the GSU boss who threatened to finish them and their entire generations if ever there will be a terror attack in the area again.

“Early this week,the GSU boss summoned us to the camp and told us point blank that if he hears any bullet fire from Alshabaab,they will kills us and our entire generations.He used the word finish.How can someone of his stature say something like that.How am I responsible is there is a terror attack anywhere,leave alone in Kilimani.its not fair,”said one of them.

The elders said the threats have left them in fear and that the entire village is living in fear of what might happen to them if the police boss decides to live up to his threats.

They said some of the villagers were already fleeing from the area fearing that they might be targeted by security officers and be victimized.

Kilimani village is inhabited by herder communities of Somali decent.

Ten families had already fled the village by Tuesday evening and headed to Garissa and Wajir counties.

Due to the threats,some of the residents have now been sleeping in bushes and only coming back home at dawn to avoid encounters with security officers whom they fear might descend upon them anytime they wish to carry out their boss’s order.

The Nyumba Kumi elders said it was unfair for the police officer to suggest that they could be the ones hiding Alshabaab militants who have been terrorizing locals.

“To say we are shocked will be an understatement.He said is he hears just the sound of one bullet that’s not from the police,he will send his men to finish us and the entire village.We don’t understand what we have done wrong.We have cooperated with the police for the longest time ever.We are worried and we hope the government will look into this.People are already running away for fear of being targeted by police,”said yet another of the elders.

Following the incident,religious leaders in Mokowe are calling upon security officers to desist from actions that instill fear among residents especially at a time when the general elections are nigh.

The Lamu West CIPK chair Noordin Abdullahi condemned the incident and asked the GSU boss to retract the statements made and apologize to the Kilimani community over the same.

Abdullahi said there was need for security officers to watch their tongues andf avoid words that was instill more fear in a population that’s already living in plenty of fear owing to constant Alshabaab attacks in various parts of Lamu.

“That GSU boss must apologize for the threats he made.Those damaging statements he uttered must be taken back unless of course he will push through with his plans.Its the duty of every one to preach peace especially at a time like this when the country is gearing up for elections.This isn’t a time to make people run away from their homes.Its wrong especially coming from one who is supposed to protect,”said Abdullahi.

Efforts to get the comments of the GSU boss on the matter were futile as his phone and text messages went unanswered.