President Kenyatta declares total war on Al-Shabaab

Monday July 17 2017

President Uhuru Kenyatta issuing title deeds in Kizingitini, Lamu on July 17, 2017. He declared a major security operation to wipe out Al-Shabaab and ordered that those militants who will be found be killed and buried. PHOTO | LUCAS BARASA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

President Uhuru Kenyatta issuing title deeds in Kizingitini, Lamu County, on July 17, 2017. He declared a major security operation to wipe out Al-Shabaab and ordered that militants be killed and buried. PHOTO | ATHMAN OMAR | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By LUCAS BARASA
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By KALUME KAZUNGU
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President Uhuru Kenyatta has declared a major security operation to wipe out Al-Shabaab.

Speaking on Monday at Kizingitini in Lamu County, the President ordered that the terrorists be killed and buried.

“We shall finish them,” he said of the terrorists who have turned Boni Forest into a playground,  attacking and killing locals before retreating there.

A visibly angry President also implied that Public Works Principal Secretary Mariam El Maawy, who was last week abducted, shot and injured by the terrorists, could have been targeted for issuing title deeds to locals.

MILITANTS

Ms Maawy was rescued by Kenya Defence Forces after the militants took control of her vehicle before killing her bodyguard, driver and nephew. Two other people were also killed.

President Kenyatta, who was accompanied by his deputy William Ruto, said he was certain that the insurgents, who have been killing and maiming locals would be found.

“When we get them, we will not jail but bury them,” the President said.

He said Ms  Maawy was a daughter of Lamu and her only mistake could have been issuing title deeds to locals.

VOLATILE

Ms Maawy, who held the Lands docket before being moved to Public Works, was shot in the hand and legs and is recuperating in hospital.

President Kenyatta said no one has a right to take other people’s lives or cause fear. He also cautioned locals against hiding the militants.

Speaking later in the volatile Mpeketoni, President Kenyatta called on locals living in areas prone to Al-Shabaab attacks to vacate and pave way for security agencies to flush out the militants.

Mpeketoni lies just 13km from Milihoi where the insurgents abducted Ms Maawy in a daring 3pm raid.

The militants had killed 13 people in Jima and Pandaguo a week earlier. 

COOPERATE

The President called on residents in the entire Lamu County to cooperate with security officers and give information that will aid in the war against terrorism.

He also pledged to increase the number of Kenya Police Reservists in the county to ensure all villages are well secured. 

He said Kenyans should be free to walk without restrictions day and night and their properties protected.

The President, who was accompanied by Jubilee gubernatorial candidate Fahim Twaha, assured Kenyans of security ahead of elections.

FLED HOMES

Hundreds of locals in Lamu have fled their homes due to persistent Al-Shabaab killings despite a multi-agency Linda Boni Security operation that started in 2015.

Coast regional coordinator Nelson Marwa has termed the raids political, saying they are meant to prevent people from voting on August 8.

The attacks have affected tourism, local economy and movement. A number of schools have also closed down.

The Head of State, who is on a  tour of Coast counties, also issued 1,100 title deeds to Kizingitini residents.

SUFFERED LOSES

He also promised that fishermen who suffered losses due to a ban on night fishing because of insecurity would be compensated by March next year.

Later, President Kenyatta and his deputy reached out to Tana River residents for support, citing  development agenda.

The President urged locals who overwhelmingly voted for opposition in 2013 to back his re-election bid.

Thanking locals for ending inter-clan clashes, he said in Garsen that residents should reject “opposition’s empty rhetoric”.

He said he was ready to remove a curfew imposed in Tana River “but locals must first help police weed out the killers”.

“We can’t remove curfew then have mass killings again,” he said.