Lamu university students at the weekend conducted a cleanup exercise in Mpeketoni to commemorate former Public Works PS Mariam El Maawy who was killed by al Shabaab militants.
El Maawy died in September last year following an attack by the terrorists in Mpeketoni on July 13.
Al Shabaab shot and injured the PS in the shoulder and on the legs after abducting her at Milihoi area along the Mpeketoni-Lamu road.
Her nephew, a trainee pilot, with whom she was with, died during the attack. El Maawy was rescued by a joint team of the Kenya Defence Forces and the General Service Unit.
The attackers took control of the PS vehicle which had six occupants and sped off into a thicket.
A KDF helicopter followed the vehicle and managed to rescue the PS. Those in the vehicle were killed.
Two police officers also died during the attack while two others were abducted by the terrorists.
El Maawy had attended a meeting on Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia Transport Corridor at Huduma Centre in Lamu town before heading to Witu.
On Saturday, about 300 students commemorated her and the niece. The students said the former PS was an environmental champion who would go out of her way to join the community in keeping Lamu safe.
Lamu University Student Organisation (Luso) organising secretary Mohamed Skanda said the event was also meant to remind the community on the need for cohesion, peace and unity in the face of terrorism.
"Terror does not chose tribe, gender or religion," Skanda said.
He said El Maawy was a Luso mentor while the nephew, Arif, was an active member of the organisation until his death.
“We chose to remember them through the things they loved to do most - keeping the environment clean. We chose to do it in Mpeketoni because it was the first to be hit by terrorism in Lamu. We must never forget the scars of terrorism even as we draw life lessons from them as we look forward to a better tomorrow,” Skanda said.
Luso public relations officer Najma Jaffar said El Maawy was a humble person with huge professional excellence that inspired many young girls in Lamu and beyond.
“She was so humble but very hardworking and straight in her morals. Many of us here really looked up to her and we still do because her heritage lives on," Jaffar said.
He described Arif a hard working man who was a role model to young boys.
"We miss them even as we remember how great they were,” Jaffar said.