NAIROBI, Kenya Dec 29 – Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet has warned against setting off fireworks during the New Year festivities without authority due to the increased terror threats.
In a statement issued on Monday night, Boinnet said individuals and organizations must obtain permission from the Ministry of Mining and police.
Fireworks are usually set off by hotels, individuals as well as other organization to signify the start of the New Year as part of the celebrations.
But Boinnet now says it is necessary for authorities to know where to expect celebratory fireworks because of the current security situation in the country.
“This is particularly important in view of the elevated threat of terrorism and therefore, security officers need to know when and where to expect celebratory fireworks,” the police chief explained.
Kenyans have also been reminded to be fully conscious of their surrounding and to alert the police using the toll free number 999/111 in case of anything that is out of the ordinary is noted.
Kenyan security forces have been on high alert since last week when the police chief warned of “real terror threats” in the country after Al Shabaab militants split into two groups—supporting Al Qaeda and the Islamic State (IS).
Those now loyal to IS operate in the Mandera region, while the Al-Qaeda force is based in the southeastern Boni Forest district, police said.
On Saturday, police said a suspected Al Shabaab fighter was killed nearby when a homemade roadside bomb he was planting exploded.
And on Sunday, two police officers were killed and two others injured during an Al Shabaab ambush on the Lafey-Mandera road.
The Sunday attack occurred at the same area in Elwak where another ambush last Monday left two people dead when the terror group opened fire on their bus.
On Monday, two people were killed and another injured in Mandera after an explosion went off in a Probox vehicle, sparking off protests by residents who accused the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) of shooting at the locals.
But KDF Spokesman Col David Obonyo was quick to defence the military, saying “the vehicle exploded, it appears there was some device in the vehicle that went off.”
“Reports that our officers have shot at the vehicle are erroneous,” he said, when asked about the reports.
“The vehicle had passed three of our (KDF) vehicles when it suddenly exploded,” he told Capital FM News on telephone, “it was not shot at.”
Mandera Governor Ali Roba has demanded an investigation into the incident, saying the information given by the security forces is not satisfactory.