, Nairobi Kenya, Sept 20- The curfew imposed on residents of Lamu County was on Saturday extended for one month to enable police officers conduct their security operation which started two months ago.
The dusk-to-dawn curfew which was set to end on Sunday will now remain in force until October 23, according to Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo who made the announcement on Saturday.
“In view of the fact that we are still conducting security operations in the county, I hereby declare an extension of these curfew orders for one month,” he said.
He also said Boni and adjacent forests remain prohibited areas saying any person found there will be dealt with firmly as per the law.
Armed gunmen blamed for the killing of nearly 100 people in Lamu two months ago had taken refuge in the vast forest where the military was deployed to flush them out.
The gunmen haven been ambushing motorists and killing people indiscriminately.
“During this time that these orders will be in force, all public transport vehicles in Lamu-Garsen road to move only under police escort and during the day,” he stated.
The Inspector General first issued the curfew on July 19 following attacks in Mpeketoni.
Previously, Lamu had been hit by a series of attacks since mid-June which had fuelled divisions in the coast region blamed on radicalisation, ethnic tensions and land disputes.
Somalia’s Al-Qaeda linked Shabaab have claimed responsibility for some of the attacks, saying they were in retaliation of the continued presence of Kenya’s military in their lawless country.
However, police and government officials have blamed the Mombasa Republican Council (MRC), a group that campaigns for independence of the coastal region.
Some of the suspects accused of the killings have been charged in court, although some were set free due to lack of evidence to sustain the charges.
Lamu Governor Issa Timamy who had been arrested and taken to court over the attacks was recently freed after the court declined to allow police more time to investigate him, saying the law enforcement agencies had failed to justify their request.