Nelson Marwa wants Boni Forest bombed

Nelson Marwa calls for the bombing of Boni Forest

What you need to know:

  • It is not clear how Mr Marwa’s order will be implemented as the Linda Boni Operation is multi-agency.

  • The operation led James Ole Serian is being carried out by Kenya Defence Forces, the National Police Service, the National Intelligence Service (NIS) and other State security agencies.

  • Also, legally, police and the military do not take orders from regional coordinators, the former provincial commissioners.

Coast Regional Coordinator Nelson Marwa has called for the bombing of the expansive Boni Forest in Lamu to wipe out Al-Shabaab militants.

Mr Marwa on Thursday said the Somalia-based ragtag militia had turned the forest into a playground, launching attacks on security personnel and civilians at will.

STORM

The fighters have claimed many lives, maimed security personnel and civilians and destroyed property, including schools.

The attacks have increased in the recent past despite the ongoing Operation Linda Boni — the Kenyan security agencies’ effort to fight the militants in counties bordering Somalia.

Mr Marwa threatened to storm the forest and lead the operation to kick out the militia as “I do not fear dying because of Kenyans.”

“I will get in there if they (security personnel) are afraid of getting in (the forest),” he said without providing details about the officers' fears.

“I cannot just watch people being killed. The forest is in Kenya and not in Somalia. We must get in there.

Speaking during a press briefing at the Mtongwe Channel, Mr Marwa urged Boni residents to keep off the forest to allow the government to deal with the terrorists.

BOMB

“What you are going to see there has never been seen before,” he said.

“These people made Boni Forest their home and started to stage attacks and then retreat without even running. I can’t understand this myself… we need to bomb that forest,” he said.

It is not clear how Mr Marwa’s order will be implemented as Linda Boni Operation is multi-agency effort.

The operation, led James Ole Serian, is being carried out by the Kenya Defence Forces, the National Police Service, the National Intelligence Service (NIS) and other State security agencies.

It is three-pronged: As KDF soldiers engage the militants in direct combat that involves aerial bombardments and infantry soldiers combing every inch of the forest, NIS detectives infiltrate neighbouring villages to flush out locals collaborating with the terrorists, while police arrest and interrogate suspects with the aim of charging them in court.

HEAD-ON

Also, legally, police and the military do not take orders from regional coordinators, who are the equivalent of the former provincial commissioners.

But Mr Marwa said the government would not allow the terrorists to take the lives of officers and innocent children anymore.

“We are going to deal with those people while inside. We cannot have the terrorists attacking people and go scot-free,” he said.

“We want to strongly warn those who are in the Boni Forest planting IEDs (improvised explosive devices) targeting our officers and pupils now. I want them to get this right: The government will deal with them head-on.”

On Tuesday, four officers and four pupils died after a police vehicle was blown up by a home-made bomb suspected to have been planted by Al-Shabaab.

The renewed terror attacks in Lamu come after a three-month lull in attack in the border county.

Before May, three months had elapsed without any incident thanks to Operation Linda Boni.

40 ATTACKS

Earlier, a week would barely pass without a terror attack in Lamu.

Basuba Ward in Lamu has become the target of Al-Shabaab attacks due to poor road and mobile phone networks.

Since 2015, Al-Shabaab has staged more than 40 attacks in the ward.

The proximity of Basuba Ward to the Kenya-Somali border also makes it easy for the militants to cross in and out of Lamu.

The Tuesday attack came just three weeks after seven Administration Police officers from the Mangai Rapid Border Patrol Unit, two KDF soldiers and one civilian were killed.

They died after their armoured vehicle ran over an improvised explosive in Baure, Lamu East, on May 31.

Welcome!

You're all set to enjoy unlimited Prime content.