Mombasa Regional Commissioner Nelson Marwa PHOTO:COURTESY
Coast Regional Co-ordinator Nelson Marwa has suggested that the rising insecurity in Lamu County could be politically motivated.
Dozens of security officers and civilians have been killed by militants suspected to be Al Shabaab since May.
Last week, militants kidnapped Public Works Principal Secretary Mariam El-Maawy in Milihoi, sparking a rescue mission that ended in the death of two policemen and a civilian.
Although intelligence and military sources have told The Standard that the violence is being perpetrated by Jaysh Ayman, an Islamist militia allied to Al Shabaab that is exploiting old land grievances, Mr Marwa believes local politics and the upcoming elections are also to blame.
He has urged Lamu politicians to openly condemn the acts.
“For Lamu County to now be experiencing these attacks less than 30 days to the August elections smacks of election-instigated violence aimed at displacing communities that are not seen to be favouring certain leaders’ voting blocs,” Marwa stated.
Meanwhile, intelligence sources have suggested that the officers killed or injured in last week’s rescue mission could have been struck by friendly fire from approaching Kenyan forces, amid reports there was no shoot-out because the kidnappers fled the scene after the vehicle carrying the hostages rolled.
It is suspected that police opened fire on the vehicle believing militants were trapped inside, causing it to explode.
Marwa was accompanied by Lamu County Commissioner Joseph Kanyiri and Lamu County Police Commander Perminus Kioi, who have been in the spotlight over the rising insecurity.
Marwa said it was awkward that none of the politicians, who are busy campaigning, had come out strongly to condemn the wave of attacks.
“No politician has released a statement condemning the attacks, yet they expect those who are suffering to give them votes,” he said.
He also asked the politicians to give reasons why they did not want the Government to impose a curfew, which he said was necessary to restore order especially in the areas rocked by militant attacks.
“The curfew is for the public good and those found flouting the order will be arrested and prosecuted,” he stated.
“The Government would like to know whether there are any leaders who have a hand in these attacks that seem to be selective,” the outspoken public administration official said.
He however stated that security personnel were on the militants’ trail and it was only a matter of time before they were captured dead or alive.
He assured Lamu residents that the perpetrators of these attacks, including the one in which the PS was injured, would be found.
He also said intelligence officers were looking into an alleged Al Shabaab reconnaissance of the Mokowe jetty, said to be relaying information on the movement of vehicles and State officials.
Marwa urged public and private vehicle owners to make use of structured police escorts to help ensure their safety.
“The Government has redoubled security personnel in Lamu County and especially along the Lamu-Witu road, which is being patrolled heavily both in the air and on the ground,” he said.
Marwa also assured Lamu residents that critical Government facilities were safe from attack and warned the militants that they would pay heavily if they attempted to attack any Government establishments.
He also accused some local residents of supplying Al Shabaab with information on vehicle movements.