Leave Boni Forest or be bombed alongside al Shabaab, Lamu security chiefs tell locals

The government will proceed with the plan to bomb al Shabaab hideouts inside the Boni Forest in Lamu county.

The militants have been hiding in the forest, which borders Tana River and Garissa counties, for a long time.

They always retreat to the safety of the forest after carrying out attacks in the region.

This happens amid the Operation Linda Boni which kicked off over two years ago.

A contingent of security officers, who include the KDF, the RDU, the GSU, the KWS, the anti-terror and regular police patrol the forest daily.

Joseph Kanyiri, the director of the operation, said in Lamu on Sunday that the bombing of al Shabaab hideouts will start any time.

He told residents staying close to the forest to move away.

Kanyiri said they suspect some individuals, who are posing as herders, are part of al Shabaab.

On Friday, Kanyiri gave all herders 48 hours to take their animals out of the forest.

“We are going to bomb the forest in a short while. That is why we are asking those around to move away.”

“Those herders who claim not to see anything unusual inside the Boni Forest should also move out,” he said.

“We are coming for al Shabaab with a more serious force than before. If you don’t move out, we’ll bomb you and you won’t blame anyone.”

Kanyiri also warned those assisting the militants with food and information that they will be considered terrorists.

“If you give al Shabaab food and information, even if it is your son, father, brother or uncle, do you think we will care?”

“These people kill innocent people and you go ahead to assist them? We will hunt for you just like we do al Shabaab,” he warned.

Kanyiri said the bombing will be ‘too hot’ for anyone to stay in the forest.

He said they have several terror suspects in their custody and will take them to court soon.

Kanyiri also asked those who fled to IDP camps due to insecurity to remain in the camps. He said the government will ensure they are protected.

The IDPs will only be allowed to go back home when the al Shabaab threat has been totally eliminated, Kanyiri said.

More than 2,000 residents of Jima, Poromoko, Pandanguo and neighbouring areas of Witu have been living in IDP camps.

These are housed in Katsaka Kairu and at the AIC Church in Witu and have been there since last month.

Read: 4 killed, houses torched in Lamu midnight attack

Also read: Three dead after al Shabaab attack in Lamu

Devolution can make the Presidency less of an obsession for Kenyans

IEBC deputy presiding officer murdered in Siaya County