Kenya has indefinitely closed its border with Somalia in Lamu to cut illegal trade and boost security operations against Al Shabaab militants.
The official reason for the closure is security, but some sources suspect the shutdown signals a deterioration of relations between the two nations that are locked in a maritime dispute in the Indian Ocean.
Lamu has been vulnerable to infiltration by militants and smugglers from Somalia. In recent months, intelligence reports have warned of terrorist attacks in parts of Coast.
The border, according to Lamu County Police Commander Perminus Kioi, will be open to security officers only.
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The security team has also prohibited residents living in the border villages of Kiunga and Ishakani from any cross-border trade saying that those who will contravene the directive will lose their business permits and be arrested.
The border closure comes barely a week after fishing activities off the Coast near the Somalia border were banned.
The county police chief said officers patrolling Ishakani, Kiunga and RasKiamboni to effect the ban managed to get 10 bags of contraband sugar and several cartons of milk.
“Those smuggling contraband items from Kenya into Somalia and vice versa will have themselves to blame,” said Mr Kioi.