In Summary
  • On May 31, this year, 10 security officers and a civilian were killed when a vehicle they were travelling in ran over an IED at Baure along the Hindi-Kiunga road.
  • On August 6, 2016, four police officers were injured during an attempted attack by suspected Al-Shabaab militants who tried to force their way into the Basuba General Service Unit (GSU) camp in Lamu East.
  • On June 14, 2015, over 60 Al-Shabaab militants raided the Mangai village at around 3am and torched over 100 mattresses at the Mangai Boarding Primary school, an administration block and a motorbike belonging to the Mangai Dispensary.

The insecurity situation in Lamu began way back in 2011 when a British tourist was abducted by suspected Al-Shabaab militants from Kiwayu Village Resort in Lamu East.

As a result, Kenyan forces were deployed on the border and inside Somalia under ‘Operation Linda Nchi,’ whose sole objective was to seal off any entry points for gangs on the border and prevent any militants from crossing into Kenya after it was established that they were using porous border zones to get into the country.

Since then, Lamu County has had constant and numerous attacks, the worst case being that of the terror attack in Mpeketoni on June 15, 2014.

Over 100 people were killed by Al-Shabaab militants and property worth millions destroyed in Mpeketoni, Hindi, Kibaoni, Witu, Baure, Mangai and Basuba that year.

MANY ATTACKS

The happenings prompted the national government to launch a multi-agency security operation dubbed ‘Linda Boni’ whose major objective was to flush out Al-Shabaab militants believed to be hiding inside the dense Boni forest.

The introduction of the Linda Boni Operation ushered in a new ray of hope for the Lamu residents who thought that cases of Al-Shabaab attacks and attempts would be a thing of the past.

They felt they were safe to walk around, believing that they were being protected while doing so.

Despite the existence of the operation which is led by the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) soldiers in cooperation with various units of the National Police Service (NPS), it is unfortunate that many attacks are still being witnessed with many lives being lost at the hands of Al-Shabaab criminals who have literally turned Lamu into a playground where they walk around freely and launch attacks and raids at will.

50 ATTACKS

The unfortunate thing is that the number of Al-Shabaab attacks and attempts before the Operation Linda Boni was launched and thereafter seem to have doubled compared to times when there wasn’t any operation in Lamu.

So far the number of Al-Shabaab attempts to the area in 2015 to date number to over 50 times.

It should be noted, that at first, the Boni forest seemed to be the worst affected since the Al-Shabaab militants and their families are believed to be hiding there.

Police reports however indicate that most of the recent attacks by Al-Shabaab were carried out in places which are outside the operation zones, meaning that the terror group is now moving from the volatile Boni to areas which are least expected to be affected by insecurity.

CONCERNS

The Milihoi attack where at least three people including security officers and civilian were killed on Thursday, for example, is outside Linda Boni Operation areas.

The matter is the same with Jima and Poromoko areas where nine people were killed by Al-Shabaab last week.

Such occurrences have even led to Lamu leaders and locals to question the effectiveness of the Operation Linda Boni with many of them calling on the government to re-strategize the entire operation.

Lamu Governor Issa Timamy says it is unfortunate that Kenyans in their country are being attacked by people from neighbouring country and who sneak to come and cause havoc, create fear and despondency, more particularly on Lamu residents.

PUBLIC APPEARANCES

He says despite the Linda Boni Operation making little achievement, it is high time that the government heightens its operation to secure all Kenyans.

Two years since the operation was launched, the Governor says it is surprising that officials can still confirm Al-Shabaab terrorists have been making public appearances in various places in the county.

“I can say to a great degree that the Operation Linda Boni has been successful since we have enjoyed peace for some time.

“The Al-Shabaab are however coming up with new ways of planting Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) on our roads.

“For the past two months or so, we have lost a number of our security personnel and civilians to these bombs planted on our roads by Al-Shabaab. We need to up our game in order to meet any threats which can affect our people,” said Mr Timamy.

FAILED OPERATION

On her side, Lamu Woman Representative Shakilla Abdalla criticised the Operation Linda Boni saying it has totally failed in its mandate to deal with the Al-Shabaab menace in the county.

Ms Shakilla says the operation has been unable to flush out Al-Shabaab militants believed to be hiding inside the Boni forest.

She says the county continues to be on the receiving end of the militia group since the operation was commenced with many security officers and civilians losing their lives due to the menace.

She says Al-Shabaab attacks and raids have become rampant and that it is hard to understand why that's the case, when the national government was spending money on the Linda Boni operation which doesn't seem to bear any positive fruit.

SHOW ACHIEVEMENTS

She has dared the government to come clean and tell Kenyans what the Linda Boni has so far achieved since the security of the county was still very fragile.

"The operation has been in place for over two years and each time the government says it’s a success. Where is the success when the Al-Shabaab still strike at will and kill our people?

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