The Star (Nairobi)

20 July 2014

Kenya: Lamu Hold Anti-Curfew Protests As Duale Tells Muslims to Ignore Kimaiyo Order

Photo: http://www.the-star.co.ke/
Four police officers were among seven people killed in Witu after gunmen attacked a Lamu-bound bus.

A woman sweeps a street by a mosque in Lamu town, the main settlement in Lamu, an island in the Indian Ocean off the northern coast of Kenya July 10, 2014. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola

Lamu residents held demonstrations at the Mkunguni Square in Lamu town on Sunday to denounce the curfew imposed by Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo on Saturday.

The protests came hours after Leader of Majority in Parliament, Aden Duale, took to Social Media on told muslims in Lamu to ignore the curfew order.

"Muslims in LAMU county must go to the mosques for last 10 days Ramadan prayers despite the curfew. Our religion is supersedes curfew order. Maintaining security in LAMU county is paramount but denying Muslim faithful their religious obligation on this holy month is unacceptable," said Duale.

The month long curfew forbids residents from venturing outside their houses between 6.30pm and 6.30am.

Kimaiyo said the move was necessary to allow security units in the region ample time to hunt down criminals terrorizing Lamu and Tana River counties.

Following the announcement, many Lamu residents, most of whom are Muslims, denounced the curfew order saying it will interfere with the month of Ramadhan.

Muslims pray in mosques at night and early morning when starting and breaking the fast.

There are 35 mosques in Lamu Island alone with many residents holding prayers at different scheduled timelines.

One of the protester said Lamu residents are peaceful and saw no reason for the imposition of the curfew.

"It's unfair for the curfew to be imposed.That's totally unnecessary. We can not accept that and we are ready to even die if the curfew is not removed. Kimaiyo should respect Muslims and not just do whatever he wishes. Does he know to what extent such a curfew will affect Muslims?" he said.

More than 500 residents turned up to demonstrate against the imposition of the curfew at Mkunguni Square.

Lamu governor Issa Timamy was forced to intervene and tone down what seemed like a simmering hostile situation.

Timamy held an emergency meeting with security officers in the region in order to brainstorm on possible solutions and adjustments that can be made to accommodate the night prayers.

Speaking to the Star on phone, county commissioner Miiri Njenga said a special committee that will specifically address religious-related issues especially during this Ramadhan period had already been formed.

He said there was a big possibility that special compromise will be accorded to Muslim worshippers whom he said shall be allowed to pray and go back to their houses during curfew time.

"There is no need for anyone to worry. We are working on making some adjustments on the curfew in order to accommodate Muslims who pray in the evenings. The committee is currently working on that," said Njenga.

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