Boni forest is declared ‘National Reserve’ after exit of ‘al shabaab’

xinhua

 

Kenya’s security forces have destroyed six Al-Shabaab camps that were located in Boni forest on the Kenya-Somalia border that were used by the insurgents to launch attacks against Kenya.

Police Spokesman Charles Owino told a media briefing in Nairobi that they have managed to reduce the security threats emanating from the Islamist militant group who used the forest as a training camp.

“The Boni Forest will soon be gazetted as a national reserve which will boost tourism and other economic activities in the coastal town of Lamu,” Owino said, adding that economic activities in the area are back to normal.

Kenya began a multi-agency operation in the Boni Forest in the past two months.

The forest was the hideout for the terrorist group that murdered over 65 people in an attack in June 2014.

Owino said police have been conducting a military operation that was aimed at restoring security in the coastal region.

“Security agencies have also recovered weapons that were stolen by ‘al-Shabaab’ during the Mpeketoni attacks Lamu County, which left dozens of people dead, thousands others displaced and property destroyed last year.

Military sources then blamed the ‘al-Shabaab’ terror group who were working with local militia group to orchestrate the killings.

Most of the militants who had infiltrated the forest have abandoned the camps and fled to Somalia, according to military and police sources.

Security forces are also on high alert for suspected militants who had fled Boni Forest.

Owino said the security agencies have also disrupted the movement of Al-Shabaab recruits into Somalia.

A few days ago, two Tanzanians were arrested on their way to Somalia and charged in court.

“Even after the 90 days that was initially envisaged for the operation, the security agencies presence will be sustained,” Owino said.

According to the Owino, police presence has also been enhanced with the creation of eight more posts in the Lamu County.

The police spokesman noted that the terror attacks that have been witnessed in the French capital Paris, indicates that the fight against terrorism is a global war.

Owino said terrorists are prepared to take advantage of any situation including the ongoing rains to commit their crimes.

“We have therefore taken note of that and have increased vigilance on the movements of terrorists,” he said.

Owino noted that there is intelligence indicating that ‘al-Shabaab’ militants in Somalia are planning to sneak into Kenya from the northern towns of Mandera, Wajir and Garissa.

“We therefore urge citizens in those places and Kenyans at large to be alert on strangers moving into their villages,” he said.

Owino said security forces are under firm instruction to be alert and work closely with their counterparts.

“Police commanders have been instructed to ensure that response mechanisms are up to date.

“They also have to ensure that civil agents for up to task of ensuring quick response to emergencies,” he added.

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