, NAIROBI, Kenya, July 19 – The Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo has placed Lamu County under a month-long 6.30pm to 6.30am curfew from Sunday, July 20.
Addressing journalists in Nairobi, Kimaiyo said the move was prompted by the spiralling insecurity in the county which has left over 90 people dead and property of unknown value destroyed.
“Due to insecurity in Lamu County, I David Mwole Kimaiyo, the Inspector General of Police of the National Police Service in accordance with the provision of the constitution section 8(1) of the public order Act Caps 56 laws of Kenya do hereby issue a curfew orders within Lamu County fRom 20th July 2014 to 20th August from 6.30pm to 6.30am.”
“Every person within Lamu County is directed to remain indoors during the period the curfew is in force except under and in accordance with terms and conditions of a written permit granted by the County Commander,” Kimaiyo directed.
The order came shortly after an earlier directive that banned night travel for Public Service Vehicles and private cars on the Garsen-Lamu highway.
Coast Regional Coordinator Samuel Kilele had warned that no vehicle would be allowed to operate on the route past 6pm.
The highway is situated along the vast Boni forest where militias are believed to be hiding.
A major operation is now expected following Kimaiyo’s directive in a bid to weed out suspected militias hiding in the forest.
Kimaiyo’s order followed the killing of seven people on Friday night among them four police officers, two passengers and a driver who were shot when gunmen ambushed a three-vehicle convoy.
The two passengers succumbed to injuries while undergoing treatment on Saturday morning.
Lamu County Commissioner Njenga Miiri said the policemen were escorting the convoy when the attack occurred.
“We have seven people dead in Friday attack. We are pursuing the assailants,” Miiri said.
Some of the passengers were said to be missing in the aftermath of the attack and it was not known whether they had been abducted or fled in panic.
The attack comes days after Kenya Defence Force destroyed military camps in Boni forest where the militiamen behind the killings are believed to be hiding.
Lamu has been hit by a series of attacks since mid-June which, according to the Kenya Red Cross, has left over 90 people dead.
The attacks have fuelled divisions on the coast, a region where radical Islam, ethnic tensions and land disputes are an explosive cocktail.
Somalia’s Al-Qaeda linked Shabaab have claimed responsibility for some attacks, saying they were in retaliation for Kenya’s military presence in Somalia as part of the African Union force supporting the country’s fragile government.
However, police and government officials have blamed the Mombasa Republican Council (MRC), a group that campaigns for independence of the coastal region.
This now becomes the most notable security measure by the Government after a chain of attacks in Lamu County despite heavy police presence in the area.