, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 21 – Lamu County leaders have protested Tuesday’s order by the Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo to extend a dusk to dawn curfew in the area by one month to November 23.
The leaders led by Governor Issa Timamy claim the local security team was misleading the government on the situation on the ground.
He said the county had lost a lot of money as a result of the curfew while some residents have lost their jobs.
“Imposing a curfew this long is not right, it is not fair…we demand that this curfew be removed from the island as a first phase and as security improves then it can be removed from other areas,” he stated.
“Tourism is ‘dead’ as we speak now in Lamu. For the last three months, Lamu as a County has lost a lot of money.”
Lamu Woman Representative Shakila Abdalla claims the curfew is a ploy to sabotage the county economy.
“Although we have witnessed peace and security since the unfortunate killings, the national government is still imposing curfew…we suspects there is a hidden agenda,” she stated.
Kimaiyo however on Tuesday explained that the move was necessitated by the need to normalise security in the county which remains shaky.
The IG extended the curfew to November 23 from 6.30pm to 6.30am daily.
He said police were acting on intelligence reports, arguing they were yet to arrest all those who were involved in the June attacks in Mpeketoni that left 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 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, Law Society of Kenya 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.
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.
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.