12 September 2017

Somalia: Lamu Chiefs Only Good At 'Fattening', Taking Bribes From Al Shabaab

Nelson Marwa has mocked Lamu chiefs saying they are only good at gaining weight and warned that many will be fired over insecurity

The Coast regional coordinator said corruption among Lamu chiefs and their assistants has robbed residents of security.

Marwa said the administrators take bribes from anyone and end up allowing criminals and suspicious herders into the county.

He said they find out later that the people are members of the al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab terror group.

The group wants Kenyan troops to leave Somalia where they were part of the African Union peacekeeping mission.

They have carried out sporadic attacks in counties including Lamu, Mandera and Wajir in retaliation.

To flush them out, the government has decided to bomb Boni Forest in Lamu and has asked all 'foreign herders' to leave ahed of this operation.

Marwa said they chiefs are aware of the orders yet they choose to work with al Shabaab.

"They will accept any amount, to allow criminal elements to operate within the county, without caring about the repercussions of their insatiable appetite for bribes and the county's security."

He added chiefs in areas where the militants have carried out many attacks allow them to pose as herders.

"Some of them had been bribed by the herders and had allowed them to continue staying in Lamu," he said in the county on Monday.

The security coordinator also disbanded all community policing committees headed by chiefs in Lamu and ordered that new ones be formed immediately.

The committees work with police in implementing regulations aimed at curbing crime and increasing security.

But Marwa said terrorists had infiltrated the teams rendering them useless.

"They cannot function accordingly since members seem to have been compromised."

The security chief further suspended several chiefs in the county whom he accused of sleeping on their jobs.

"Some chiefs are fully aware of the many security challenges in Lamu. These criminals and militants have been bribing their way here and killing locals... the chiefs are aware," he said.

"They take bribes and allow militants to come and kill innocent civilians at will. That's why I am disbanding all community policing committees here. Let new ones be formed and represent all communities.. We are also firing some of the chiefs whose actions have left people dead."

Marwa directed county commissioner Gilbert Kitiyo and his deputy Loius Rono to ensure speedy formation of new teams that will function devoid of corruption and undue influence.

He added: "I have fired the chief in Hindi where four people were butchered recently with immediate effect.

"The other chiefs in places where people have been killed before will be issued with letters to that effect. We can't have people risking the lives of locals like that. They must tell us where they were when these people were being killed."

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