Three al shabaab camps destroyed in Lamu

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: Security agencies conducting the Linda Boni operation in Lamu have been able to blow up and destroy three al shabaab camps and hideouts at Lango la Simba area in Witu,Lamu West.

Speaking in Lamu on Monday,Linda Boni operation director Joseph Kanyiri said the Alshabaab camps were identified and destroyed following tip offs from members of the public.

He said the camps were being used hideouts for the militants who conducted attacks in the area especially of vehicles plying the Lamu-Garsen route.

He said an operation to hunt down the militants in Witu,Hindi and inside the Boni forest in still ongoing.

Kanyiri asked residents to stay away from the Boni forest which he said is currently being bombed and that doing will be dangerous.

He asked residents who are staying in IDP camps at Katsaka kairu and at the AIC church in SWitu town to resist the urge to secretly go back to their homes as may have been doing saying such a move was risky.

He said one among the four men who killed by suspected militants in Hindi, recently had gone to cut wood inside the Boni forest before he encountered the militants who killed him.

Kanyiri also cited the killings of four people in Maleli village on August 18, saying they died after leaving the IDP camps and going back to their homes despite having been warned against doing so by security.

“We have destroyed three Alshabaab hideouts at Lango la Simba in Witu.Thats where they used to hide and ambush vehicles on the Witu-Gamba-Garsen highway.All we ask is that people stay out of the Boni forest and for those who are in IDP camps,be patient,don’t go back home yet,that’s risky if you do,”said Kanyiri.

He said more police and military camps have been set up in terror prone areas including Bodhei, Milimani, Mangai, Usalama, Mararani, Ishakani, Pandanguo, Nyatha, Salama and others.

He said the biggest challenge facing the operation was the lack of cooperation from members of the public who refuse to give out information to aid the war on Alshabaab.

He said some residents assist al shabaab by giving them food and information on the movements of the security officers.

“If you have information on anything,bring it to the right people and that’s the security officers.Aiding Alshabaab even by giving them food and information makes you an accomplice.Lets all work together to make Lamu safe again,”he said.

He also called on farmers and herders to respect the government order to move out of Boni forest and seek alternative settlement elsewhere to pave way for the operation to be conducted effectively.