A sombre mood engulfed Bobo and Uziwa villages in Lamu West on Tuesday evening as the four men butchered by suspected Al-Shabaab militants at Silini-Mashambani and Bobo in Hindi Division a week ago were laid to rest.
One of those buried is a teacher at Bobo Primary School, Mr Joseph Kimani, who was also beheaded when a gang of about 30 heavily armed suspected militants raided Bobo Village at around 1.30am that fateful night of Wednesday September 6.
He was buried alongside three others, Mr Gerald Wagunyi Wanjahi, Mr Samuel Ngushu Ndung’u and Mr Hilary Kiara.
The four were dragged by the militants from their houses and beheaded as their wives and children watched.
The militants also torched several houses in the village before disappearing into the dense Boni Forest.
The funerals of the four were conducted under heavy security presence from the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) and regular police.
Various political leaders including Lamu Governor Fahim Twaha and Lamu security bosses attended the burial.
The burial ceremonies were hastily conducted before mourners were dispersed and ordered to go back to their homes due to the ongoing security operation being conducted in the area which is part of the areas covered by the ongoing multi-agency security Operation Linda Boni which is meant to flush out Al-Shabaab believed to be hiding inside Boni Forest.
Addressing hundreds of mourners during the burial at Bobo, Governor Twaha called on the national government to improve security all around the county in order to avert such deaths in the hands of Al-Shabaab.
Mr Twaha said his government will cooperate with the national government in ensuring cases of insecurity are completely eradicated in the county.
He called on the national government to increase the number of Kenya Police Reservists (KPR) in the county in order to deal with insecurity in the villages.
“I will soon meet President Uhuru Kenyatta in order to discuss the way forward concerning the security situation in Lamu.
“We are tired of losing our people each and every time at the hands of Al-Shabaab. We want the national government to train and equip our youth with guns in our villages in order to defend the residents in times of attacks,” said Mr Twaha.
Mourners who attended the burials pleaded with the national government to put up more KDF and police posts in areas prone to terror attacks in the county.
They also called on the police to increase patrols in the villages in order to prevent any further killings of residents by Al-Shabaab.
“Let the government be serious in its mandate to keep us safe. We have a right to security and we need to see that happening. We are tired of losing our people each and every time in the hands of Al-Shabaab. The government should also think of equipping us with guns to defend ourselves in times of attacks in our villages,” said Mr William Mwangi.
Lamu County Commissioner Gilbert Kitiyo assured the residents of their security and called on them to cooperate with the security agencies and be ready to give information that will aid in the war against Al-Shabaab in the region.
Mr Kitiyo also said the national government has recruited, trained and equipped 200 KPRs with guns and that they will soon be deployed to areas vulnerable to terror attacks.
“I call on residents to [give]information to the police for prompt action. As national government, we have recruited enough KPR officers and we will soon be deploying them to Witu, Hindi, Pandanguo, Basuba, Ishakani and the rest of the areas facing insecurity challenges in the county,” said Mr Kitiyo.
Residents protest killings.