Lamu women rep accuses security forces enforcing curfew in areas not listed

Former Lamu women representative Shakila Abdalla at a past media briefing PHOTO COURTESY

Lamu,KENYA: women rep Shakilla Abdalla has accused security officers in Lamu of enforcing curfew in areas that weren’t listed.

Shakilla also accused the officers conducting the search for Alshabaab militants in various parts of the county for harassing locals and infringing on human rights of locals in the process.

Speaking in Lamu on Friday ,Shakilla said she was aware that residents were being harassed by security officers who were forcing them to produce Alshabaab terrorists.

She said it was unfair for the security officers to target a particular group of people and claim they were hiding Alshabaab.

She also sought to understand why security officers were forcing locals in other parts of Lamu to observe the curfew despite those areas not having been listed when acting Interior CS Fred Matiang’i announced the curfew last month following a spate of Alshabaab attacks in parts of the county.

Areas listed for the curfew are Bodhei, Milimani, Baure, Basuba, Mangai, Mararani, Kiunga and Ishakani in Lamu east.

The dusk to dawn curfew runs from 6.30 pm to 6.30 am daily for a 90 day period after which it will either be subject to termination or extension depending on the security situation then.

“Areas where the curfew was imposed are known.However funny enough,residents of Mokowe,Ndambwe,Mkunumbi,Witu and other parts of Lamu are also being told to stay indoors during curfew time.Many at times these officers descend on homesteads asking the owners to produce Alshabaab failure to which they are thoroughly harassed and embarrassed for that matter.So many complaints of human rights being infringed upon have been reported from the police and military,”said Shakilla.

She asked the government to state why residents were being subjected to a curfew that doesn’t affect their areas and thus denying them their freedom to free movement to pursue their day to day activities.

Shakilla said their was need for security officers to desist from any form of harassment and instead seek to protect people and property at this election period.

She expressed confidence that the officers were acting on orders given to them by government to harass and intimidate residents as a tactic in order to scare them from voting on August 8.

“That’s just a tactic to sway votes.They know they have no votes here and therefore the only thing they can do is to instill fear in people so that they don’t turn out to vote or they flee and avoid voting.All these is making people scared for nothing.How do you tell someone to stay in their houses yet the area isn’t under curfew. That’s pure intimidation and we are telling the government to stop intimidating Lamu voters simply because they are anti-Jubilee.That must stop,”she said.

She said there was need for the government to come forth and explain why human rights were being trampled on by security forces in the name of hunting for Alshabaab.

“I have no military training but I don’t understand how you go looking for Alshabaab inside a house when they are out there killing people.How do you tell people to produce Alshabaab when they know very well how these guys operate.Is is that they have no intelligence or what.Let them search forests and bushes and ensure borders are secure and stop disturbing innocent people,”said Shakilla.

Meanwhile ,the new Lamu county commissioner Gilbert Kitiyo denied reports that the curfew would affect voting in Lamu.

Kitiyo said adequate security measures have been taken in all areas in Lamu to ensure all persons whether in curfew areas or others fully participate in the election on August 8 in a peaceful and transparent manner.

“The curfew will not hinder people from voting,we are assuring them of that.People will be allowed to come out and vote.Voting starts at at 6am to 6pm.We shall ensure no one is locked out,”said Kitiyo.