Lamu county leading in forced disappearances

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HAKI Africa Chief Executive Officer Hussein Khalid during a past press briefing in Mombasa .The organization has questioned KNEC's move to de-register student PHOTO: HILLARY MAKOKHA.

Lamu,KENYA:Lamu County is leading with the most number of persons who have been killed or disappeared mysteriously at the hands of security agencies at the Coast region.

This is according to Haki Africa,a human rights organization body based in Mombasa working to livelihoods and enhance the progressive realization of human rights in Kenya.

Speaking in Lamu on Wednesday,Haki Africa Executive Director Hussein Khalid said a total of 46 people had gone missing or reportedly died at the hands of the police in the Coast region with 15 of those being from Lamu county this year alone.

The disappearances are said to have occurred between January and July this year.

Khalid said the organization suspects that the 15 who disappeared in Lamu could have been taken and killed by Kenya Defence Forces-KDF soldiers in their pursuit for terrorists in the ongoing Linda Boni Security operation that was launched since 2015.

He noted that majority of the disappearances actually started around 2014 shortly after the worst ever terror attack in the region in Mpeketoni that left at least 100 people massacred by Al shabaab.

More other disappearances are said to have occurred starting 2015 when the Linda Boni operation began.

“We are aware of at least 46 cases at the entire coast region.Its however alarming that majority that is 15 are from Lamu.This happened between January and July.This means Lamu is leading.As Haki Africa,we are the voice of those who cant speak for themselves.We want the government to tell us where this people are.We know some were taken by KDF and other state agencies.Citizens rights must be protected,”said Khalid.

He called on Interior CS Fred Matiang’I and Police Inspector General Joseph Boinnet to come clean and explain the fate of the 46 who should have otherwise been protected by the same security agencies.

Khalid also mocked the Kenya government for failing to speed up the construction of the border wall on the Kenya-Somalia border which would have sealed off the porous border and stopped suspicious persons from gaining entry into the country.

“That wall separating Kenya from Somalia was supposed to have been up and running by now but seems to have stalled.They must complete it to ensure Kenya remains safe,”he said.

 

Despite the entire coast region having seen rising insecurity levels for several years now,Lamu however has however become a frontier county on the country’s war against Al shabaab terror group especially since the 2014 terror attack in Mpeketoni.

Violent extremism and radicalization has also seen many youth from Lamu and other counties recruited in to the ranks of terrorists with devastating results.

This has led the government to undertake security operations in various parts of the county such as the Boni Enclave.

Khalid however insisted that some of these operations have led to killings and disappearances of the local youth in the respective regions. ” he said.

 

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