Security takes centre stage in Lamu West campaigns

Lamu West MP Julius Ndegwa listens to proceedings at the Mombasa Court in Mombasa County on Wednesday 22nd June 2016. Photo/Kelvin Karani

The county has in the past suffered terror attacks as Al Shabaab militia took advantage of its proximity to lawless Somalia to sneak into the area and wreak havoc.

In June 2014, militants from the terror group attacked Mpeketoni, leaving more than 60 people dead and scores injured.

Since then they have launched sporadic attacks from their Boni Forest hideout.

Yesterday, Lamu West MP Julius Ndegwa told voters that he would ensure security was restored once re-elected to represent them in Parliament.

Border county

Ndegwa, who was accompanied by senatorial aspirant Modhar Ali campaigned at Witu, Majembeni, Kibaoni and Mpeketoni centres and promised voters that they would push for proper security operations in the area that would wipe out the terror group.

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The two, who are vying on a Safina ticket, said Lamu, being a border county, needed intensive border patrols to contain insurgents.

“Recently, there were rumours  that a group of 100 militants had been spotted somewhere along this highway but that will only remain to be rumours,” added Ndegwa.

He said such information was intended to cause fear and anxiety so that people can flee before the election date.

Ali said his decision to join Senate was necessitated by the quest to improve security in the county given his experience in the military where he served for more than 20 years.

“We need radical security measures that will include a permanent presence of military barracks within the Boni forest that will be reinforced with multiple police posts in the scattered towns,” he added.

He added that he would push legislation in the Senate to achieve the dream of a secure Lamu.

Ali also said he would push for the gazettement of Boni Forest as a training ground for the military as the only sure way of flushing out terrorists, who have been hiding in the forest.

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“We also need to up the number of Kenya Police Reservists (KPR) in this area who will work closely with other security agencies as they will be trained and equipped to combat terror activities,” he said.

Ali rubbished claims that Al Shaabab was re-grouping, saying that it was only a political ruse to scare away some communities from the area for political reasons.

Ndegwa was however met with hostility during his campaign at the various stops as supporters of a Maendeleo Chap Chap aspirant Stanley Muthama stormed his rallies branded with their candidate’s campaign gear.

The police were on the lookout and thwarted disruptions.

Ndegwa accused his opponent of using goons to disrupt his meetings and called on the police to take action adding that Lamu was bigger than any of its politicians.

The MP is facing very strong opposition from three candidates who are equally popular. They are Stanley Muthama of MCC, Abdul Kassim of Jubilee party and Rishad Amana of ODM.

The MP asked voters to re-elect President Uhuru Kenyatta as he had brought development to the area by tarmacking the Garsen-Witu-Lamu highway.

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