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Matiang’i warns politicians as four policemen killed in Lamu

By Willis Oketch | Jan 8th 2022 | 2 min read

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi with Lamu leaders during a meeting to discuss insecurity in Lamu County. [Omondi Onyango, Standard]

Four police officers yesterday died after their vehicle was hit by an explosive at Milihoi area along the Garsen-Witu-Lamu road yesterday.

Lamu County Commissioner Samson Macharia said the General Service Unit (GSU) officers were ambushed by militants who bombed the vehicle.

Macharia did not, however, state which kind of the explosive was used amid reports from the eyewitnesses a Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) was fired from a nearby forest.

The officers were from Kastakakairu heading to Mokowe which is within Lamu West, said Macharia, who added that a manhunt for the militants behind the attack was underway.

“The biggest challenge is that these criminals sometimes we think that these criminals are in the forest only to later hear that they melted into the population,” said Macharia.

He said the incident took place at about 8.25am. The CC said the number of the attackers is not known but stated that “they were very many.”

The incident took place almost on the same spot where Public Works Principal Secretary Mariam El-Maaw was attacked in 2018.

She died three months later in South Africa while undergoing treatment.

Yesterday’s killing of the four GSU officers is an escalation of the attacks and killings in Lamu West, which the government declared a “disturbed area” on Tuesday.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i also imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew in the four divisions of Lamu West most affected by cases of insecurity blamed on land rows.

Yesterday, Dr Matiang’i met leaders from Lamu in Nairobi to deliberate on the prevailing security situation in the county. They also discussed who to pacify the troubled area.

The State links the attacks to ethnic profiling, which it says is linked to political formations, the coming voter registration drive and land disputes.

“We have been paying very close attention to issues in Lamu.

“We are determined to ensure that ugly spectre of violence on scale that we have regrettably witnessed in the past years does not recur,” said Matiang’i.

He said the government would prosecute political leaders found culpable in sponsoring or inciting violence and recommend to IEBC that they should be barred from contesting future elections.

Lamu Governor Fahim Twaha attributed the attacks to the election claiming that unnamed politicians were out to displace residents not deemed as indigenous.

“The truth is most of the elected leaders in the county won by very thin margins and some people reason the best way to alter future election results is to ensure members of certain communities fail to vote by displacing them,” said Twaha. 

Yesterday’s incident brings to 11 the number of those killed by the militants this week. On Monday, six people were killed at Widho Shopping Centre and the following day, an elderly man had his throat slit.

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