Lamu Recce squad officers threaten to strike over pay

Recce squad officers in Lamu. PHOTO: COURTESY.

Lamu, KENYA: Security officers drawn from the elite GSU Recce Squad who are taking part in the ongoing Linda Boni Operation in Lamu have threatened to down their tools if the government doesn’t pay their risk and hardship allowances amounting to Millions.

The officers are also demanding to be immediately evacuated from the al Shabaab prone Boni forest saying their period of duty lapsed last year in August.

The officers who spoke anonymously in Lamu town for fear of victimization by seniors said their bosses keep threatening them with the sack each time they ask to be evacuated from the area in line with the rotation procedures they signed before they embarked on the operation.

The officers said they are willing to lose their jobs since efforts to have their bosses pay the allowances and rotate them haven’t borne fruit.

Operation Linda Boni was launched on September 15, 2015 by the then late Interior CS Joseph Nkaisserry with key objective being to flush out Al-Shabaab militants said to be hiding in the Boni forest.

The officers said each one of them is owed Sh.226,000 for the over eight month period they have been working in the region.

The officers disclosed that the issue was the major reason why they were unwilling to deal the many al shabaab attacks in their areas.

“Why should we continue risking our lives fighting al shabaab when someone else is eating our risk allowance.We don’t have the morale and that’s we don’t really do anything when we hear of an al shabaab attack around here.We do all we can to go there late afterall,no one should die for nothing.They should pay us our allowances and take us out of here,” said one officer.

The officers said it was unfair that KDF soldiers and NIS officers taking part in the operation are paid all their dues and allowances on time each month while they continue to wallow in miser.

They said it was time for them to leave the operation at the hands of KDF and NIS since they were the only ones being recognized and paid for their efforts while they slaved for nothing.

“We feel shortchanged.We are the only unit in the operation that is being sidelined and denied allowances.The KDF or the NIS are well sorted and on time each month.Let the government release us so that the KDF and NIS can continue with this operation. We are not recognized and we want to be moved out or else we will be forced to quit our jobs after all life is important than any amount of money,”said another officer.

They said their families back home suffer since they cant sufficiently provide for them without the much needed allowances.

When contacted however,Linda Boni operation director Joseph Kanyiri dismissed the complaints by the officers and termed them petty.

Kanyiri said the officers weren’t entitled to any risk or hardship allowances in as far as he was concerned since the officers are paid salaries.

He lashed at the officers for being cry babies and asked them to stop complaining and work.

“Those complaining should understand that it’s not a must for them to get allowances. They must beware that they are doing the job as per their call. Hardship allowances are always featured in their pay slips and are being paid every month. I don’t understand the allowances they are demanding. They should come forward to explain who promised them such allowances rather than going to the media. It won’t help,” said Kanyiri.