Four Lamu terror attacks in 2020 - fewest ever - Beaking Kenya News

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Thursday, 31 December 2020

Four Lamu terror attacks in 2020 - fewest ever


Lamu county  recorded only four al Shabaab terror attacks in 2020 - the fewest ever - compared with previous years.

Six non-militants were were killed.

The low number was attributed to the ongoing Linda Boni forest security operation and cooperation from some residents.

The operation was launched by the national government in September 2015 to flush out al Shabaab militants hiding inside Boni forest and launching attacks from its thickets.

In an interview early this week, Lamu county commissioner Irungu Macharia said security units had sealed off any lapses and gaps previously exploited by terrorists.

"We've agressively patrolled daily on land, air and even at sea. This has made terror attacks in Lamu county almost impossible. We're ensuring we eliminate all criminals posing a threat to national security, "Macharia said.

Hundreds of lives have been lost and people injured since 2014.

Residents and visitors expressed optimism that the government will intensify the war on terrorism to ensure there are no attacks in 2021.

The county security office said the more than 20 al Shabaab terrorists killed by security forces this year exceed the number of civilian and security casualties - six.

Hundreds of militants were wounded by security forces  in 2020.

Among the dead were three passengers of a Lamu-bound bus slain during an ambush at Nyongoro area on the Lamu-Garsen road on January 2 this year.

Immediately after the attack, security units killed four militants. They captured one alive.

On January 5, a US military service member and two US contractors were killed during an al Shabaab attack at Manda Bay military base used by US and Kenyan military personnel.

During the attack, five Shabaab terrorists were gunned down while one was captured.

The third terror incident in Lamu this year was on December 20 when security officers repulsed an ambush on a Border Patrol Unit vehicle at Nyongoro on the Lamu-Garsen road by heavily armed militants.

The vehicle was part a security detail escorting a convoy of buses from Lamu to Mombasa when it came under attack at around 9am.

No one was injured.

The latest terror attack in Lamu this year was on December 27 when the Kenya Defence Forces raided an Al shabaab camp at Bodhai inside the Boni forest, killed several militants and wounded tens of others.

Elder Abdalla Shukrie of Mangai village in Boni forest said the reduced terror attacks this year were a grim reminder that the war on terror can be won with the right tactics.

In 2017, for example, more than 50 people including security officers were killed while at least 100 others were injured in various al Shabaab attacks.

“Our schools and hospitals have been closed since 2014 due to terrorism. But we are optimistic that 2021 will bring a lot of positive changes and if things continue like this, our lives will soon go  back to normal,” Shukrie said.

The situation has caused a night travel ban to be imposed in Lamu. Only daylight travel is allowed.

Since June 2018, a ban has been imposed on cross-border trade between Kenya and Somalia.

The move has undermined livelihoods and strained relations between the two countries.

In 2020, however, residents are looking forward to the lifting of the ban and the return of normalcy.

“We have intermarried with our neighbors in Somalia but since the ban, one family may be in Kenya and the other in Somalia, Halima Gumba of Kiunga on the Lamu-Somalia border said.

"We can’t do business, some of our shops were locked out on either side. It’s frustrating but things are looking up,” she said.

Gumba who has not visited her in-laws in Somalia more than two years says she has not also attended five of her in-laws’ funerals in Somalia.

“It's so painful but knowing this could soon end gives us hope we shall soon reunite with our families on either side,” she said.

The improved security situation also gives hope to more than 300 IDPs who fled terrorist attacks They have been staying in camps at Katsaka Kairu area since July 2017.

The IDPs mostly from Pandanguo, Jima, Poromoko, Kakathe, Maleli and Nyongoro villages fled after Shabaab killed several people and torched their houses.

Others were asked to move to the camp to allow for Linda Boni security operations.

They hope to return in 2021.

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