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Security beefed up in Lamu as militia terrorize residents

14 July 2014, 08:08

Nairobi - Police on Sunday said they had strengthened security in the troubled Lamu County after unknown gunmen again raided Pandanguo village in Witu and terrorized residents on Saturday night.

According to police, the gang broke several doors and harvested farm produce in the vast Boni forest in the coastal region.

The other gang hijacked a lorry that was ferrying food within Hindi area and stole all the goods.

County Commissioner Miiri Njenga confirmed the latest attacks by gunmen on Sunday and blamed for massive killings of over 60 people and displaced of hundreds in June.

He confirmed that heavily armed gunmen terrorized residents for several hours before setting houses ablaze, a school as well as vandalizing a local dispensary where they made away with medical supplies.

"We have reports that the gunmen fired in the air to scare residents before they invaded the famous Jima farm and harvested farm produce and escaped into the forest. We are pursuing them," Njenga told Xinhua on Sunday.

Njenga denied claims that the security agencies have been overwhelmed by the attackers who continue to stage more attacks.

He said the government has deployed an elite special force to Boni Forest to flush out heavily armed militia who were believed to be behind a series of attacks in Lamu county.

"The armed forces are combing the dense Boni forest where heavily armed assailants are believed to be hiding," Njenga said.

The residents said the attackers were demanding to know the location and operations of the security forces that were deployed in the region.

The attacks which initially begun in Mpeketoni, spread to Witu, Kibaoni, Mukoe and the latest being Pandanguo village.

The attack comes after the same group gang on Thursday raided the same Pandanguo village, torched two classrooms, an administration block and a food store at Pandanguo primary school ablaze.

The gunmen also managed to steal six rifles from the Kenya Police Reservists. The attacks and the raid in the village took place despite the presence of various security units positioned in the area.

Kenya military has claimed that the attacks in Lamu are being executed by Al-Shabaab working with local militias. The military sources said the militants were recruited and trained within the vast Boni forest.

 - Xinhua

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