Dozens flee deadly Lamu attacks

Residents of Kibaoni in Lamu West holding protests after the killing of two people.

Photo credit: Kalume Kazungu | Nation Media Group

Dozens of residents were taking refuge at primary schools in Kibaoni location, Lamu County, after fleeing their homes shortly after militants attacked Juhudi Salama village on Sunday night and killed two people.

Coast Regional Commission John Elungata said police were deployed to protect the families.

“Local administrators coordinated and hosted them in different areas but we have sent adequate police and the families are now going back to their homes,” said Mr Elungata.

Speaking in Mombasa on Monday morning shortly after meeting Lamu elected leaders led by Lamu Governor Fahim Twaha, he said they had agreed on several measures to stabilise the situation.

As the leaders met in Mombasa, locals in Kibaoni were holding protests, saying police had done little to protect them.

They burnt logs and blocked the Witu-Mokowe highway for several hours before police dispersed them.

The locals said the deaths of the nine civilians in the past one week could have been averted if police had been vigilant. They said police had been informed about suspicious people seen in the area.

“We want the killings to stop. We are living in fear. We want police to come to the villages, not patrol along the highway,” said Juma Ali, a Lamu resident.

Instructed the chiefs

In the past seven days, 11 people, including four General Service Unit (GSU) officers, have been killed by militants.

On Sunday, chiefs and assistant chiefs in Lamu County were put on notice for failing to share the information.

Mr Elungata and Coast regional police Commander Musyoka Manase, who were in Lamu for the county local administrators’ meeting, instructed the chiefs to work with village elders to gather any information that could lead to the arrest of criminals operating in the area.

Mr Elungata said that though land remains an emotive issue that has led to violence in the area, locals were harbouring suspected Al-Shabaab militants who are being used to disrupt peace.

"We have been having problems in getting information from members of the public. That is why we have instructed chiefs and their assistants to monitor and give information on any suspected Al-Shabaab sympathisers," he said.

He added: "We have also asked local elected and community leaders to cooperate with the security team as some play a key role in causing violence."


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