by Joy Nabukewa MOMBASA (Xinhua) --
Kenyan military have launched air strikes against Al-Shabaab
terrorists believed to be operating within the vast Boni Forest, Lamu County
near the border with Somalia.
Coast Regional Co-ordinator Nelson Marwa
confirmed on Monday evening the start of the airstrikes, saying the operation
will go on despite opposition from a section of Kenyans.
"As we speak, air strikes are on.
"Boni forest belongs to Kenya and Al-Shabaab must know we will secure it,"
Marwa said in Mombasa.
Lamu area has suffered several attacks leaving at least a dozen people dead
in a week.
Nine of them were beheaded by the terrorists.
Marwa said the government had begun moving residents to safer areas following
"We are asking communities living in and around that forest to move to secure
areas that have been designated by the government as there is going to be
terrible operation there and we do not want to see civilian causalities," he
Intelligence reports indicate that the Al-Shabaab insurgents have been
dispatched to carry out attacks that could target military and police units in
the vast Boni Forest that the militants have been using as their hideout.
The counties of the larger northern Kenya could also be a target as those
fleeing from AMISOM aggression are said to have entered Kenya through the porous
border with Somalia.
The operation came a day after the government imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew
in the area as part of efforts to address the Al-Shabaab attacks.
Marwa said people in areas affected by the curfew would be allowed to conduct
and attend prayers.
An operation dubbed Operation Linda Boni is also ongoing in the area.
Other security officers in the area suspect some of the terrorists who were
injured in last week’s clash could be still in the forest hence the airstrikes.
Marwa said the curfew imposed in Lamu, Tana River and Garissa counties on
Saturday by the government will go hand in hand with the operation to flush out
militias from the Boni Forest.
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