Lamu, KENYA: Lamu County Commissioner Gilbert Kitiyo has directed police in Lamu to forcefully evict all non-local herders from the county.
This follows the merciless killings of four men in Silini and Bobo villages of Hindi division on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The county commissioner said police were confident that the killings were done by criminals posing as herders from neighbouring counties of Tana River,Wajir and Garissa.
Earlier on,all foreign herders had been given a 48 hour ultimatum by the Linda Boni operation director Joseph Kanyiri who said the behaviors and the modus operandi of the foreign herders was suspected and closely related to that of Alshabaab.
The herders were also directed to get out of the Boni forest where they graze their livestock in order to allow for the bombing of Alshabaab hideouts inside.
Speaking in his office on Friday,Kitiyo said the 48 hour ultimatum had long run out but that some of the herders had refused to leave and are suspected to be behind the spate of recent killings and beheadings in various parts opf the county.
He said police will now use force to throw out the herders whose continued presence continues to tally with the increased insecurity.
Kitiyo said the four men killed in Silini and Bobo villages wasn’t done by Alshabaab as largely speculated but by herders.
“If they are Alshabaab and work with Alshabaab and they are killing our people the way they are doing,then they have no business being around here for another second.They will have to be ejected.The four men killed recently weren’t killed by Alshabaab but by herders who aren’t even from Lamu.They come here and torment our people then kill them?They must leave now,”said Kitiyo.
There have been continued conflicts between herders and farmers in various parts of the county over reduced pastures with herders being accused of deliberately grazing their livestock on farmlands and crops.
The situation normally results in conflict.
Kitiyo said the killings only seem to happen in places occupied by the herders and nowhere else and said it was obvious that such people were unhealthy for the secueity of Lamu county.
He said his office also had more than enough proof that some of those posing as herders have been working with the Alshabaab by giving them information and conducting killings on their behalf in some instances.
He said many of the herders were actually specially trained terrorists having acquired the skills in Somalia after which they cross back into Lamu posing as herders before conducting their attacks on unsuspecting civilians.
Kitiyo said the fact that the attackers who killed the four men seemed to know their exact home locations and even called them by their names,suggested that then killers were local.
He said police had been directed to rid Lamu county of any trace of foreign herders since the ultimatum for them to do so voluntarily had long run out and many were proving hostile and uncooperative.
Meanehile Lamu herders have been warned against taking livestock belonging to the non-local herders and pretending to be the owners saying such a move amounts to sabotage of the operation to rid Lamu of the now dangerous herders.
“We have identified all local herders and we know them by name.We are warning them against acquiring livestock from the non-local herders and claiming to own them.We wont take that easily.We want this issue resolved once and for all and for lives to resume normalcy ,that’s why they must go back to their respective counties by force,”said Kitiyo.
He also asked herders who have camped at the Kipini border after they were sent packing to move away into their counties before the military and police desecend on them adding that the eviction wont be nice.
“Everywhere these herders camp,people die.Lives become scary for locals there.They don’t know how to reciprocate an act of hospitality and that’s why we being the hosts are tired and want them out now.Those at Kipini border better leave before we get to them,”said Kitiyo.