Security has been beefed up in Tana River county following reports of ongoing recruitment of members to the Mombasa Republican Council (MRC), the separatist group that has been advocating the breakaway of the coastal region from the rest of Kenya.
According to Tana River County Deputy Commander Peter Munyoki, the group is believed to be recruiting within the Mikinduni area of Galole Sub-County.
Mr Munyoki noted that the security team has received intelligence reports on the ongoing exercise and was pursuing the people involved.
"We are aware that MRC is recruiting in Mikinduni village and we are tracing down that path. We shall arrest the major perpetrators in no time," he promised.
The deputy county police boss further noted that youths in the constituency were vulnerable to the ongoing exercise, hence urging parents to stay vigilant and report any unusual behaviour from their children.
Also, Mr Munyoki called on the locals to shun the culture of secrecy, as it endangered the community and exposed it further to danger.
"We need to work as a team to kick out any criminal activities that will jeopardise the peace of this county. That can only happen when you decide to share grassroots information with us," he said.
Also on the police radar are some of the local politicians who have been put on the spot for encouraging the formation of militant youth groups ahead of the 2022 elections.
Clerics have also been warned against holding secret meetings with the youth in secret places, as such will be assumed to be a plot against the county's security
Deal with it accordingly
"We will only allow gatherings that are legal and objective. The aspect of radicalising the youths will not be tolerated and we shall deal with it accordingly," he warned.
The separatist group became vocal in 2008 when it first raised claims that Mombasa should secede from Kenya to become an independent state.
Known for their slogan Pwani si Kenya, the group members argued that secession would liberate the people of the coast province from marginalisation by the successive governments in Kenya.
Their activities were, however, met with brute force from the government, linking them to terror group Al Shabaab.
The High Court had lifted a ban on the group, a decision which was also upheld by the Court of Appeal. In July 2016, the Court of Appeal upheld the decision to lift the ban on the group.
This move led to the acquittal of most suspects who were arrested and charged with being members of MRC at the time.