Group of 50 ‘al-Shabaab’ militants preaching to Basuba villagers
Kenyan authorities said on Sunday they have enhanced security in the coastal town of Lamu after Somali militants stormed a village and “preached” to the terrified villagers on Saturday.
Regional Police Commander Robert Kitur confirmed that a group of 50 ‘al-Shabaab’ insurgents were spotted in Basuba village near Kenya-Somalia border, before ordering villagers from their houses and preached to them.
Kitur said that they had received information from members of public about the presence of the ‘al-Shabaab’ members in the area on Saturday but said the crackdown is already underway for the insurgents who vanished in the vast Boni forest.
“We have the reports of ‘al-Shabaab’ members who lectured villagers for hours before vanishing to the nearby vast Boni forest.
“We have heightened security to deal with them,” Kitur told Xinhua on Sunday.
He said the locals were able to identify at least two foreigners in the group who were masked and heavily armed while preaching.
Kitur said the group is believed to be behind the recent Improvised Explosive Device (IED) attacks targeting police and military vehicles within Basuba area.
He urged the locals not to fall prey to the ‘al-Shabaab’ propaganda but instead share intelligence reports to security agents to help thwart future attacks in the tourism resort region.
The insurgents who have waged increased attacks on Somali and Kenya governments warned the villagers that if they tell security agents of their presence in the area, they will come and burn the entire village.
The residents said the militants assured them that they had no bad intentions with them if they will co-operate, saying the military and the police are their “enemies”.
“Several residents are already exiting the region due to the fear created by ‘al-Shabaab’ propaganda and the obvious threat, but we urge them to ignore the threats,” Kitur said.
Security agencies have intensified border patrols to deter infiltration of the militants into the country at a time of increased threats by the terrorists’ network and homegrown terror cells with the Garissa university attack on April 2 in which 148 people being the latest incident.
The government has already started construction of proposed wall between Kenya and Somalia in Kiunga, Lamu County to address the heavily porous unmanned borders believed to be easy route for terrorists to sneak into the country.