Awer community starving due to security operation in Boni Forest

Security officers during a past operation in Boni forest in Lamu County. [Maarufu Mohamed, Standard]

The Awer community are facing starvation due to ongoing security operations in Boni Forest where they have traditionally lived.

Elders from the minority community painted a picture of the dire situation their people are in, due to security operations to flush out suspected Al Shabaab militia.

Speaking to The Standard yesterday, the elders said their people have nothing to eat and if action is not taken, some might starve to death. 

The forest is a no-go zone due to security operations. This means supplies into the forest have been disrupted.

Awer is a small indigenous community, also known as Boni, who live in Boni Forest and mainly depend on farming, hunting, gathering and collecting honey.

Following the plea by elders, religious leaders in Ijara rallied local communities to provide food, clothing and essential supplies to the Awer.

“We used to depend on the forest by collecting honey and hunting but we can no longer go there because of the security operations, our farms have also dried up,” said Dumal Sagarey.

In 2015, the government launched Operation Linda Boni after several attacks in and around the forest by Al Shabaab militant. 

Sagarey, 66, appealed to the relevant government agencies to come to their aid.

Abdihakim Mohamud who visited Bothai Junction where the community lives said quick intervention is needed.