20 August 2017

Kenya: Army to Start Bombing of Boni Forest

The Kenya Defence Forces will soon commence the bombing of Boni Forest in Lamu County to flush out Al-Shabaab militants with residents being asked to relocate to safer areas.

Speaking to journalists Sunday, Operation Linda Boni Director Joseph Kanyiri called on all residents, especially the herders, to vacate the surrounding areas to avoid being killed during the operation.

ULTIMATUM

Mr Kanyiri issued a 48-hour ultimatum to residents, making it clear that that those who don't heed will be treated as terrorists.

"I call on locals who are still living inside or near the Boni Forest to vacate.

"The bombing of Al-Shabaab hideouts in the forest will begin anytime soon or I can say it's almost now," he said.

HERDERS

He said the terrorist group is a serious security challenge that requires a strict solution.

"The kind of bombing that will happen will be too hot for anyone to stay inside.

"I am aware that some herders have for several times been spotted grazing their animals inside Boni Forest and its surrounding areas.

"They should vacate with their animals within the next 48 hours."

HIDEOUT

Mr Kanyiri continued: "We will bomb the forest in a very short while and that's why we are asking those around to move out.

"We are coming for the Al-Shabaab with a more serious force than never before. If you don't move out, we will bomb you alongside the hideouts and you won't blame anyone."

Boni Forest, which borders Lamu, Tana River and Garissa counties, has been an Al-Shabaab hideout for long time, through which they carry out attacks.

The Operation was launched by the late Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery on September 15, 2015.

SYMPATHISERS

More importantly, he warned that those feeding Shabaab with information, enabling them avoid capture, will be prosecuted.

"Let me make it clear to you that if you in any way give an Al-Shabaab food and information we will treat you as one of them and we will trail you.

"These people kill innocent people and you go ahead to assist them?

"We will hunt for you just like we do to the Al-Shabaab and we will deal with you in the same manner we deal with them," he said.

DISPLACED

Mr Kanyiri also asked those who fled to camps due to the insecurity to remain at the centres, assuring them of safety.

Thousands of residents of Jima, Poromoko, Pandanguo, Kakathe, Maleli and Nyonmgoro in Witu division have been leaving at the camps for internally displaced people at Katsaka Kairu and AIC Church in Witu since July this year.

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