, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 21 – The Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo on Tuesday ignored threats by the Law Society of Kenya to sue him if he extended Lamu County curfew past October 22.
The IG extended the curfew to November 23 from 6.30pm to 6.30am daily.
Kimaiyo also affirmed that the expansive Boni and adjoining forests remain prohibited areas to allow police normalise the security situation in the county.
“The extension comes against the backdrop of the security situation in the county which has not fully normalised and we are still having alerts of insecurity in a number of areas,” he stated.
“I hereby strongly caution members of the public to desist from venturing into the mentioned areas when the curfew is in force.”
On October 16, LSK Chairman Eric Mutua threatened court action, saying the curfew was violating the rights of Lamu residents to earn a living as well as their freedom to associate.
“This curfew violates the right of Lamu residents to provide for their families. The fishermen prefer to fish at night and that is their right. Lamu is also primarily a tourist destination. Yet what message is Kimaiyo sending out to the world? Is he saying that he is incapable of restoring law and order in the coastal county after four months? Would you vacation in a spot where your freedoms are restricted?” Mutua posed.
The IG however said police were acting on intelligence reports, arguing they were yet to arrest all those who were involved in the attack that left a 100 people dead and property destroyed.
“That place requires continuous extension of the curfew so long as some information is still coming out very strongly that we have some insecurity alerts from here and there,” he pointed out.
“Nobody can ignore any security alert that is there and direct the county to operate normally.”
Kimaiyo also ordered that miraa traders cease from using undesignated roads to ferry supplies to Somalia.
He also directed that all public transport vehicles in Lamu and Garsen road to move only under police escort, “and during the day.”
Five Kenyans kidnapped in Kiunga area within the county on October 10 as they transported miraa are yet to be rescued.
“These unregulated routes should not be used by some people to do business, why do you want to use illegal routes?” he posed.
Lamu has been hit by a series of attacks since mid June that were linked to politics and emotive issues of land.
The attacks 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 later 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.
Recently, the group’s leader and members were arrested and charged in court for holding an unlawful assembly.