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'Lamu has been left to burn', residents claim as death toll hits 100

19 July 2014, 16:26 Victor Tinto

Nairobi - Lamu residents have been forced to cooperate with gunmen to avoid death as the state of terror in the County rises.

" That is the sad state of affairs in a County that has been left to burn by the government, a local elder who demanded his name not be published told News24.

" What do you do? If they appear at night, you tell them where the police have gone to so as to survive. That is what we are left to, the elder said.

The government has been slow to react to the problems on the ground, with statements from Nairobi fast disappearing.

When the Mpeketoni attacks initially took place, president Uhuru Kenyatta was to tour the area but the trip was cancelled due to fears for his security. Interior cabinet secretary Joseph Ole Lenku was instead sent to the area where he spent a number of days trying to calm local residents down.

Since that that time though, over 50 more people have died and in different attacks elsewhere in the County but there has seldom been a statement from State House.

When gunmen attacked Hindi two weeks ago and killed 22 people, Deputy President William Ruto handed police a 48 hour ultimatum to arrest the persons responsible. That was met by mass arrests of persons said to be members of the outlawed Mombasa Republican Council MRC but locals and local police have differed with information given at national level.

" There is a lot of confusion because we usually hear things announced and we have no idea where or how they took place, a policeman not authorized to speak officially told News24.

So what really is going on in Lamu?

Locals believe the government has hung them out to dry, with police and further more police reservists fearing for their lives because of the lack of seriousness from the government as far as protection of locals is concerned.

News24 spoke to a number of police reservists who have returned their weapons to authorities because they fear for their safety.

" They know that I am a reservist. So they warned me to return my weapon or they would finish my family. What choice do I have, a reservist only known as Jillo said.

" We are in essence operating on our own. There is no police protection. There is no coordination. The terrorists are better coordinated. They know where and when the police will come. Why do you think they have never been found? He posed.

Some on the ground even went as far as saying that there are moles within the police service which has seen their operation fail on a number of occasions.

" All along we have seen police killed and no terrorist caught. That points to inside information, another reservist said.

And with attacks not ending and innocent Kenyans dying, local residents are fleeing the area.

" I am moving to Malindi. The police are not able to protect us. I have small children. I have to run now, Mule Mwinzi said.

" This is my home but it is not safe, he added.

Added to the attacks on the Tahmeed bus Friday, the death toll has hit over 100 and Al Shabaab, who have claimed responsibility for attacks in the county have pledged some more.

It seems it is a matter of when not if it will be carried out and more Kenyans will die, not music to the ears of helpless local residents.

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