Bombing of al shabaab hideouts in Boni forests to commence

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 national government shall proceed with plans to bombard Alshabaab hideouts inside the Boni forest in Lamu county.

The Boni forest which also borders Tana River and Garissa counties has been an Alshabaab hideout for the longest time where the carry out attacks on various parts of Lamu and neighbouring counties before retreating to the safety of the forest.

Already an operation dubbed Linda Boni, has been underway for over two years and is being carried by a contingency of units led by the KDF,RDU,GSU,KWS,anti-terror and regular police.

Speaking in Lamu on Sunday,the Director of the operation which has now been renamed the Boni Enclave Campaign Joseph Kanyiri said the bombing of Alshabaab hideouts in the forest will begin anytime soon.

Kanyiri asked locals staying close to the forest to move away and pave way for security units who will be carrying out the bombing.

Kanyiri expressed concern that some individuals posing as herders grazing their livestock inside the forest were indeed part of the Alshabaab.

He said the activities and movements of the herders were closely related to those of the Alshabaab meaning they were indeed part of the wider gang.

Kanyiri gave a 48 hour ultimatum for all herders to take their animals out of the forest and for locals around to move out or they be bombed alongside the forest.

“We are going to bomb the forest in a very short while and that’s why we are asking those around to move out.Those herders who claim not to see anything unusual inside the Boni forest better move out.We are coming for the Alshabaab with a more serious force than never before.If you don’t move out,we bomb you alongside the hideouts and you wont blame anyone,”said Kanyiri.

He said Alshabaab was a serious security challenge that similarly required serious actions taken to remedy the situation.

Kanyiri also warned those assisting al shabaab with food and information saying they will equally be considered as terrorists and shall face a fate that befits a terrorist.

“If you give an al shabaab food and information even if they are your son,father,brother or uncles,do you think we will care?This people kill innocent people and you go ahead to assist them?We will hunt for you just like we do the Alshabaab and we will deal with you in the same manner we deal with them.Assisting them means you support their course,”said Kanyiri.

“The Kind of bombing that will happen,it will be too hot for anyone to stay inside ,they will have no option than to come out and then we will be waiting.They have done enough,”he added.

He said they have several terror suspects in their custody and will have them arraigned and prosecuted soon.

Locals who spoke have however reported having heard loud noises similar to those of bombardments going inside the forest pointing to the fact that the bombing of the Boni foest could as well already be underway.

Kanyir also asked those who fled to IDP camps due to insecurity to remain in the camps and said the government would ensure they are well provided for and protected while there.

He said they would only allow the IDPs to go back home when they are sure that the Alshabaab threat has been totally eliminated.

“The IDPs should stay put.We shall ensure they are taken care of and also proteceted while there.In the meantime,we are still cleaning their villages of terror elements so that they can finally come home to a safer environment but not now.We shall give them a clearer report in two weeks time and let them know if they can or cant go back yet,”said Kanyiri.

Over 2000 residents of Jima,Poromoko,Pandanguo and neighbouring areas in Witu division have been putting up at IDP camps set up at Katsaka Kairu and at the AIC church in Witu since early July this year.