Lamu county security officers have started flushing out al Shabaab returnees who have refused to surrender to authorities for rehabilitation.
The officers are part of the Boni Enclave Campaign to rid the county of the al Qaeda-linked terrorists.
Their other goal is to identify communities hiding the returnees yet they are required to present them to the government for amnesty and reintegration
Speaking in Lamu on Friday, operation director Joseph Kanyiri said many of those posing as al shabaab returnees in Lamu, Tana River and Garissa are spies for the militia.
“Communities in Witu, Kiunga, Kotile, Korissa and Masalani areas – all drawn from the three counties – are notorious for hiding al Shabaab returnees and have even been helping them prepare for and launch terror attacks in the areas,” he said.
Kanyiri warned that harsh legal actions will be taken against such people as they will be found guilty of aiding terrorism and the terror group in particular.
“We are glad that a considerable number of communities have cooperated with security officers in the Linda Boni operation. But it is unfortunate that some have been hiding and aiding al shabaab,” he told reporters.
“These communities have also remained tight-lipped whenever al Shabaab returnees come back yet we told them to surrender such people to us for rehabilitation. Investigations are at a critical stage and people shall be punished very soon.”
The director blamed the militia’s spies for the spread of propaganda leaflets in villages where the operation is taking place, with the intention of misleading, threatening and instilling fear in them.
Kanyiri warned residents against falling prey to al Shabaab’s tricks and allowing division along tribal or religious lines.
“Every morning, villagers of Kotile, Korissa and Msalani wake up to al Shabaab propaganda leaflets strewn all over,” he said.
“In the leaflets, the militants claim they have no issues with Muslims and that their only targets are Christians and people from outside Lamu. All that is propaganda which is meant to create instability and divide people so beware. Let’s all cooperate to fight al Shabaab.”
Source: The Star