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Security agents suspect dispensaries treat Al-Shabaab

Health facilities in Lamu, Garissa and Tana River have been put on the spot for treating and giving medicine to Al-Shabaab militants who have been terrorising locals, killing and maiming them, and destroying property.

Addressing journalists in Lamu on Monday, Linda Boni Operation Director Joseph Kanyiri said investigations were ongoing on health facilities in Lamu, Witu, Garsen, Ijara, Sanghailu, Masalani and Galmaghala.

SUSPECT

Mr Kanyiri cited an incident on November 26 last year where four cartons full of medicine, weighing more than 20 kilogrammes, were found floating on the shores of the Indian Ocean in Shella.

The drugs, he said, were being ferried secretly to Al-Shabaab before the suspects were discovered and they fled.

Mr Kanyiri questioned why the Shabaab were no longer raiding dispensaries, compared to before when they would loot health facilities and even vandalise them.

“We are following certain leads that will assist us in knowing who are providing treatment to Al-Shabaab militants.

“We are aware of about five health facilities in Lamu, Tana River and Garissa, which have connections with the terrorists. They have been secretly supplying drugs to the militants in the forest,” he said.

Some of the drugs found floating in the Indian Ocean. PHOTO | KALUME KAZUNGU | NATION MEDIA GROUP

WARNING

Mr Kanyiri also implicated some of the communities living in areas earmarked for the Linda Boni Operation in the recent spate of terror attacks in the county.

He said some residents were even caring for and protecting the terrorists, including feeding them and ensuring they live comfortably inside the Boni Forest, despite the terrorists continued attacks on innocent citizens.

“Every time our officers are deployed in those areas to conduct a search once an attack happens, no terrorist is found. Does it mean that these terrorists evaporate? We don’t think so.

“We believe the communities around are aware of Al-Shabaab activities but have decided to be silent. We caution them to avoid working with the terrorists. You either be on the government side or be a terrorist. Choose one,” said Mr Kanyiri.

He said the government will not relent in its quest to rid Lamu and neighbouring counties of Al-Shabaab.

SECURITY

Mr Kanyiri said a sufficient number of well-equipped security officers have been deployed to conduct the Operation Linda Boni.

He dismissed claims that the operation, which has run for more than three years, had failed in its mandate to flush out Al-Shabaab militants from Boni Forest.

Meanwhile, residents of Ishakani Village on the border of Lamu and Somalia, who fled their homes following a raid by Al-Shabaab militants last week, have been assured of their security.

The more than 200 residents fled after militants removed them from their houses on January 14 and forced them to listen to radicalised summons for an hour.

The militants warned them against cooperating with security officers and the government, failing which they would face dire consequences.

But speaking to the Nation in his office on Monday, Lamu County Commissioner Gilbert Kitiyo said security has been boosted after GSU and KDF officers were deployed to Ishakani and surrounding areas.

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