Lamu, KENYA: Residents of Ishakani village on the border of Lamu-Somalia who fled their homes following a raid by Alshabaab militants last Sunday have been assured of their security.
The residents fled to Kiunga after militants descended on the village, flushed residents from their houses and forced them to listen to radicalized summons for over an hour on January 14 and warned them not to cooperate with security units and the government or face dire consequences.
However, addressing journalists in Mombasa on Friday, Coast Regional Coordinator Nelson Marwa said enough security officers had been deployed to Ishakani and surrounding areas and that the security in the area was under control.
Marwa said security had also been enhanced along the Lamu-Garsen road where Alshabaab militants have been waylaying and launching scathing attacks on security vehicles that have resulted in the killings of officers and civilians.
He rubbished claims that the Ishakani police post had been closed and security officers withdrawn at the time of the attack adding that the national government was doing all it takes to ensure the security of the region is optimized.
Marwa termed the claims as baseless propaganda and stated that no police post had been closed or officers moved from the area.
“Ishakani is in Kenya and we have the obligation to protect it. We have enhanced security in that place and there is no cause for alarm. Those claiming that the Ishakani police post had been closed or officers moved are only propagandists. The government only did some reshuffles and adjustments to security in that region. We wanted to toughen the war on terror in that place. Anyone who will try to attack that place will see lethal fire,” said Marwa.
The militants allegedly brought down the Kenyan and police flags at the Ishakani police post before hoisting theirs.
Residents who fled Ishakani have however vowed not to go back home until more police and KDF posts are set up in their village and surrounding areas.
While commenting on the ongoing Operation Linda Boni,Marwa said the government would not relent in its quest to rid Lamu of Alshabaab.
He said the government deployed enough security officers for the operation and also facilitated their operations with required equipment.
Marwa expressed confidence that the security operation had especially been successful in the war on Alshabaab but said more efforts were being made to ensure more is achieved.
“I am confident with the ongoing Operation Linda Boni in Lamu. It has been very successful. As a government, we will do all it can to ensure the operation succeeds in its efforts to rid Boni forest of Al-Shabaab. Lamu is already witnessing calm and peace,” said Marwa.
Marwa’s sentiments come in the wake of endless questions being raised on the effectiveness of the operation that has been in place for over three years considering the continued Alshabaab attacks and raids.
Lamu residents have even proposed a change of tactics that includes annual rotation of security officers conducting the operation.
Last Saturday, Alshabaab militants ambushed a security convoy that was escorting passenger buses from Lamu to Malindi and Mombasa, killing one woman and injuring five security officers.
They also torched two police land cruisers.