, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 28 – Lamu residents on Tuesday took to the streets to protest the continued extension of the night curfew which has been in force for more than three months now.
More police officers have been deployed to the town to disperse the protesters who want the curfew lifted.
The protests come even as the Law Society of Kenya Chairman Eric Mutua prepared to institute proceedings against Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo over the curfew extension.
“For us, four months is adequate period for any security force to be able to contain a situation and we are looking at the other side of the curfew,” he said.
“We are looking at the tourism, the livelihood of the residents and the time which has lapsed since the curfew was imposed.”
Mutua had issued a 14 days ultimatum to the IG, which is set to lapse on Thursday.
Kimaiyo who extended the curfew to November 23 says it is aimed at giving security forces more time to finalise their investigation and arrest perpetrators of violence that led to deaths of over 100 people in August.
Following the Tuesday’s protest, Kimaiyo has flown to the county to contain the situation.
On October 21 Kimaiyo 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 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.”
The LSK Chairman however argues that, “many people will hide behind these issues of intelligence…you cannot be allowed to just keep it to yourself and say its intelligence and as a result extend the curfew.”
“You need to respond to inquiry from the public…is the curfew serving any purpose now?”
He pointed out that “the purpose the curfew was supposed to serve is no longer there.”
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.