Elders and residents of Kiunga village on the Lamu-Somalia border in Lamu East have threatened to lynch families of suspected Al-Shabaab sympathisers. The threats come barely a week after a spate of killings and destruction of property by the militants. The residents claimed some of their own were aiding the criminals thereby sabotaging state efforts to pacify Kiunga, Mangai and Basuba areas. They warned that families of those found to be aiding the terrorists in any way would be lynched. “It is unfortunate that some of our people have turned treacherous and have been covertly promoting terrorism thereby threatening our safety and stability,” elder Dullo Ahmad said. The elders said the sympathisers are well known to the community and that soon their names will be handed over to the security agencies for action. “Let the Al-Shabaab sympathisers stay warned that we know them and we will soon give their names to security agencies or deal with them, ” he added.
Their rage was sparked by the killing of boda boda rider Nassir Ali Mohammed on New Years Day after his bike ran over an explosive suspected to have been planted by militants who had earlier been seen in the area. He was ferrying miraa to Kiunga close to the Kenya-Somalia border when his motorcycle hit the explosive, killing him on the spot. Residents eulogised the rider as a giving and kind person saying he would often use his motorcycle to take expectant women, the elderly and children from far-flung areas to Kiunga hospital for emergency treatment at no cost. The rider would also ferry hospital drugs, miraa and other essential supplies to remote villages of Basuba and Mangai. Residents termed Nassir’s execution as intimidation to Kiunga youths for their continued cooperation with the Kenyan security forces. They vowed to continue with the same cooperation to help secure their homeland from terrorists.
Earlier on, the suspected militants used an IED to blow up the only tractor that was supplying water and other supplies to Mararani, Mangai and Basuba villages from Kiunga, killing three of the occupants. It was after this incident that Nassir reportedly stepped in to assist the resident with transportation of the crucial commodities before he was targeted. Meanwhile, the government has launched a multi-agency security operation within Boni forest’s Mangulo, Taksile and Eldheere to flush out militants. Residents said they have witnessed military airstrikes within the forest as the operation intensifies.