16 January 2018

East Africa: Lamu Residents Propose Security Measures to Curb Terrorism On Roads and Border Areas

Lamu residents want KDF soldiers and not police to escort passenger buses to curb al-Shabaab attacks on the Lamu Garsen road.

The officers are well-equipped and have better training to deal with the terrorists, they said. Other al-Shabaab targets are Ishakani, Basuba, Kiunga and Ras Kiamboni.

Speaking yesterday at a meeting in Lamu town, residents want the state to clear bushes by the roadside for drivers to have a clear view.

Residents proposed the Lamu-Gamba road be cleared at least 500m on both sides of the raid.

They said the frequent al Shabaab attacks despite heavy security on the road and of the border is disheartening.

"Security officials need to find out where terrorists hide after attacking locals. Who is harboring them?

"Let cars traveling to and from Lamu be escorted by KDF officers. We are not undermining police. We believe the soldiers are better equipped to deal with ambushes and terror attacks," resident Faiz Abdalla said.

"Boni Forest is a hideout for the terrorists, and the government should consider clearing it," he said.

Residents want a frequent rotation of KDF soldiers, their bosses and senior police officers in Lamu. They also want a new approach in the fight against al-Shabaab.

"A change of tactics is needed. The current security strategy does not seem to be working.

"The government needs to go back to the drawing board. The people of Lamu are tired of living in fear," resident Mwangi Githinji said.

Another resident Fakhrudin Ismael said clearing buses near the road will enable drivers to detect trouble early.

Residents want the NIS to work extra hard to ensure security officers are given prompt intelligence reports to avert terror attacks.

They also want the tarmacking of the Lamu-Garsen road to be done swiftly to ease movement.

"Good roads will minimise ambushes in terror hotspots. Police need to be equipped with armored vehicles and not Land Cruisers that easily blow up by bombs," resident Wainaina Kiragu said.

On Sunday more than 100 militants raided Ishakani village and forced residents to listen to radical teachings. They were warned not to cooperate with the government and security officers or they'll face the music.

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