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Lamu police boss Kioi moved in wake of Al-Shabaab attacks

Monday January 13 2020
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Longest serving Lamu County Police Commander Muchangi Kioi who has been transferred to the police headquarters at Vigilance House in Nairobi. He will be replaced by Mr Issa Mohamud. PHOTO | KALUME KAZUNGU | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By KALUME KAZUNGU

Long-serving Lamu County Police Commander Muchangi Kioi has been transferred to police headquarters at Vigilance House in Nairobi.

Mr Kioi has served in the county as both Lamu East Sub-County OCPD and Lamu County Police Commander.

He was posted to Lamu in August 2014 shortly after the Mpeketoni Al-Shabaab attack as the Lamu East OCPD, replacing Mr Samuel Obara who was transferred to police headquarters in Nairobi.

Mr Kioi was later promoted to the position of Lamu County Police Commander in 2017, taking over from Mr Ephantus Kiura, a position he has held until his latest transfer.

SHABAAB ATTACKS

Mr Kioi’s transfer comes in the wake of the recent Al-Shabaab terror attacks in the region.

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On January 2, 2020, three passengers were killed while three others were seriously injured after heavily armed Al-Shabaab militants ambushed a convoy of buses at Nyongoro on the Lamu-Mombasa route. The buses were headed to Lamu from Mombasa.

Three hours later on the same day, a multi-agency operation was launched in search of the attackers. Four Al-Shabaab militants were killed and one was captured alive.

On January 5, 2020 heavily armed Al-Shabaab insurgents attacked the Manda-Magogoni naval and US military bases around 5.30 am.

Five Al-Shabaab terrorists were killed while another five were captured alive.

One US service member and two Department of Defence contractors were killed while two other Department of Defence members were injured.

NORMAL TRANSFER

Confirming Mr Kioi's transfer, Lamu County Commissioner Irungu Macharia said he is yet to know who the new police boss will be.

But the Nation established that Mr Issa Mohamud will be taking over as the new Lamu County Police Commander.

Mr Macharia said Mr Kioi’s transfer was normal and dismissed suggestions that it could be linked to the recent terror attacks in the region.

“It is true, Mr Kioi has been moved to Nairobi’s Vigilance House. In fact he is expected to be handing over to his new replacement whose identity is still unknown to me. His transfer has nothing to do with the recent terror attacks in the county. It is just a normal transfer aimed at bolstering security in this place. Sometimes changes are crucial, especially for government officers who have served for long in particular regions,” said Mr Macharia.

Mr Kioi will be remembered for his role in the fight against Al-Shabaab militants when he was posted to Lamu in 2014.

REDUCED ATTACKS

In 2017, shortly after he was promoted to the position of county police commander, the region saw a reduction in the number of Al-Shabaab ambushes on passenger and security vehicles on the Lamu-Mombasa route.

Mr Kioi was among those who proposed the establishment of security camps in all the areas considered terror hotspots along the road including Milihoi, Mambo Sasa, Nyongoro and Lango la Simba.

RESTORE CONFIDENCE

Lamu-based human rights activists and locals interviewed by the Nation expressed gratitude following the changes in the county’s security department.

Lamu branch Muslims for Human Rights Field Assistant Officer Habib Ali said he is confident that the reorganisation of the government’s security structure in the region will greatly help to build and restore confidence among locals.

“Kioi’s transfer is timely. In fact, as an organisation, we have several times written to the Inspector-General of Police and the Interior Cabinet Secretary demanding to have all long serving security bosses transferred from Lamu. We are happy that, finally, our plea has been considered. We wish Mr Kioi well as he moves to Nairobi,” said Mr Ali.

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