TERROR RESPONSE

State declares dusk to dawn curfew in parts of Lamu

Restrictions declared after National Security Council met to discuss rising insecurity

In Summary
  • Four divisions in the county were declared as disturbed area.
  • NSC also directed the immediate deployment of a multi-agency security team to mop-up illegal firearms and activities in the affected areas.
Interior CS Fred Matiangi
Interior CS Fred Matiangi
Image: DANIEL OGENDO

The National Security Council met for the first time this year to discuss attacks in parts of Lamu that have left seven people dead.

The council, which met under the chairmanship of President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday, later issued a number of orders to be implemented as part of efforts to address insecurity threats in the area.

Among them was the 30 day dusk-to-dawn curfew effective Wednesday.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i also declared four divisions in the county a disturbed area.

“Incidents of criminal attacks that have led to the loss of seven innocent lives have been reported in Widho sublocation, Majembeni location of Lamu county.

“The attacks have also occasioned the destruction of private property and unsettled residents in the affected and surrounding areas,” the CS said.

He added in accordance with Section 106 (1) of the National Police Service Act, 2011, the National Security Council declared some parts of Lamu as Disturbed Areas and ordered a dusk-to-dawn curfew.

The areas include Lamu West subcounty and the affected include Mukunumbi division, Majembeni location, Ndamwe location while in Witu division the affected places include Pandanguo, Binde Warinde, Witu and Hamasi locations.

In Mpeketoni division the affected places include Bomani, Pongwe, Mpeketoni, Bahari locations and Mapenya location in Lamu Central Subcounty. Hindi division’s Hindi location will be affected.

The NSC also directed the immediate deployment of a multi-agency security team to mop-up illegal firearms and activities in the affected areas.

“Residents in the Disturbed Areas are requested to cooperate with the security agencies and to share information on suspicious persons and activities,” Matiang'i said.

The move follows Sunday and Monday’s attacks in the area that left seven people dead and several houses torched.

Officials said the incidents are domestic terrorism which are being fanned by some local farmers over land issues.

The raids reminded residents of the 2014 attacks that left dozens dead and displaced. More security officers have since been deployed.

Five suspects were on Tuesday arrested over the attacks. National Police Service Spokesperson Bruno Shioso said the suspects are being grilled over the attack which is linked to land disputes.

He added they are following leads to establish whether the attack has any connections with the al Shabaab militia or their sympathisers operating in the area.

“All the suspects are locals and we are talking to them to establish more over the attack,” he said.

Earlier on Tuesday, one person was burnt beyond recognition following an attack at Bobo-Hindi in Lamu. It comes as more security was deployed in the area to trace more suspects over the latest attacks.

A team of detectives have been sent there to work with residents to help in the operation.

This came two days after a boda boda rider was on New Year killed after his motorcycle ran over a bomb that was set on the road in Kiunga, Lamu.

Officials who attended the scene said the Improvised Explosive Device had been set by al Shabaab militants sighted in the area.

The rider was ferrying khat near the Kenya-Somalia border when his motorcycle was hit. He died on the spot, police said.

The attack prompted an operation in the area with several multi-agency teams being deployed.

In Liboi area, along the main border, the teams stumbled on a fresh site that had been abandoned by escaping militants.

The site had foodstuff and uniforms indicating the gang of about 50 had been there for a while. There are fears they are planning an attack on security agencies and civilians.

This has prompted operations spanning from Mandera, Wajir, Lamu and parts of Kilifi counties. The area is near the Kenya-Somalia border which has been under attack by terrorists in the past.

Boni Forest is an operation zone as the National government has since 2015 conducted a multi-agency security exercise dubbed Linda Boni, aimed at flushing out al Shabaab militants.

Kenya began the construction of the 700-kilometre long wall in 2015 to stop the militants from crossing into and out of Kenya.

The wall, which is known as the Kenya-Somalia border securitisation project, is among others meant to secure the country from attacks by the Somalia-based terrorists.

The project plan includes having designated immigration and custom entry points with a two-foot-tall concrete wall fitted with CCTV cameras.

Trenches are also being constructed in the area. The plan includes the creation of at least 22 border posts on the border with well-equipped personnel to respond to any form of aggression.

Officials say once complete, the teams will be spread 40 kilometres apart to enable quick response to attacks from militants.

The fence, especially in Mandera and Lamu, has helped reduce incidents of attacks by the militants who crossed at will.

Research by government security agencies says 30 per cent of the country’s security problems are traced to the porous Somalia border often penetrated by terrorists.

 

 

 

-Edited by SKanyara