Airstrikes launched in Boni forest

Monday July 10 2017

Coast Regional Coordinator Nelson Marwa, with

Coast Regional Coordinator Nelson Marwa, with the Mombasa County security committee, addresses journalists at the Kenya School of Government in Mombasa on July 10, 2017. PHOTO | WACHIRA MWANGI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By MOHAMED AHMED
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The government on Monday announced increased air strikes against Al-Shabaab terrorists believed to be hiding in Boni Forest.

Coast Regional Co-ordinator Nelson Marwa also claimed last week’s Al-Shabaab raids in Lamu were politically motivated.

“Why have the attacks suddenly increased? This is politics. Leaders looking for votes should stop lying about the curfew,” said Mr Marwa.

He added that even as the operation to flush terrorists from the forest continued, the government had begun moving residents to safer areas.

AIR STRIKES

“As we speak, air strikes are on. Boni belongs to Kenya and Al-Shabaab must know we will secure it,” the administrator said at Kenya School of Government, Mombasa, after a meeting with top security officials.

He added that residents harbouring terrorists would be arrested.

Mr Marwa said people in areas affected by the curfew would be allowed to conduct and attend prayers. 

Concerns have been raised over increased Al-Shabaab attacks targeting security personnel and non-natives in Lamu County despite the “Linda Boni” Security Operation.

TERRORISTS

Villagers said several terrorists suspected to have been injured during last Wednesday’s attack could be receiving treatment in the vast forest. The attackers decapitated 13 people. 

On Sunday, the residents reported seeing bloodied bandages and gloves on paths used by the escaping terrorists after they attacked a police post.

On Monday, Operation Linda Boni director James ole Seriani said a number of militants had been killed by security forces since September 2015.

Mr Seriani said people who attacked Pandanguo and Jima would be arrested soon.

PANDANGUO

Residents of Pandanguo, Jima and Poromoko are also counting heavy losses following the destruction of their crops by animals after they fled the areas.

Others could not visit their farms for fear of being attacked.

Mr Seriani said the security operation was a success.

“I can confidently say Operation Linda Boni has achieved a lot. So far, we have killed many Al-Shabaab terrorists, including bomb-making experts in the forest and on the Kenya-Somalia border,” he said on Monday.

“We have deployed many officers to the area to pursue the attackers. We will definitely get them soon.”

OPERATION

Mr Seriani urged the public to support the operation by reporting any suspicious persons or events to security personnel.

“Among the achievements we have made include setting up of seven communication masts and grading the 100 kilometre Hindi-Kiunga road.

We have also established police stations and secured them,” he added.

Mr Seriani said several schools, health centres and other infrastructure were being rehabilitated.

“With partners like donors, the county government and others, we established medical camps at Kiangwe, Basuba and Bar’goni. We are also constructing Basuba dispensary,” he said.