The national government has spent over Sh50 billion in the ongoing crackdown against al-Shabaab militants in Boni Forest, dubbed operation 'Linda Boni'', Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho has revealed.
During a public address in Hindi town, Mr Kibicho said the money was mainly used to buy security machinery that has enabled security agencies in Boni Forest to execute their duties.
In September 2015, the government launched the multi-agency security operation with the key objective of flushing out al-Shabaab militants believed to be hiding inside the dense forest. Officials said militants used the forest as a base to launch attacks in various villages in Lamu.
PS Kibicho noted that for the past five years, the security status of Lamu has greatly improved because of ''Linda Boni''.
He said he was impressed by the efforts made by the national government to secure the county from terrorism.
He also called on Lamu residents to fully support the government.
"Five years ago, places such as Hindi, Mpeketoni and Boni Forest were uninhabitable because of insecurity caused by al-Shabaab terrorists. But within the same five year period, the government has invested over Sh50 billion to undertake the ''Linda Boni'' operation, he said.
“As we speak, Lamu is enjoying peace. In fact, schools in Boni Forest were reopened and pupils are learning like the rest of Kenyans," said Mr Kibicho.
His sentiments were echoed by Lamu West MP Stanley Muthama who said there has been notable calm, peace and reduced tension ever since the ''Linda Boni'' started.
"Our people now feel safe. You can just tell. There are reduced attacks nowadays and it's all thanks to the national government under the stewardship of President Uhuru Kenyatta. The government has put the interests of the people of Lamu at the fore," said Mr Muthama.