Security agencies in Lamu are on high alert after reports of a planned Al-Shabaab attack went round in the region.
According to the reports, a group of the Shabaab terrorists was this week spotted advancing towards Kiunga while another cell was seen near Mararani which is inside the dense Boni Forest where a multi-agency Operation Linda Boni has been ongoing for the past five years.
The reports going round also indicated that Al-Shabaab militants were sighted crossing into Kenya at Astani, which is between Ras Kamboni and Kolbio on the border of Garissa-Lamu with Somalia between October 13 and 15.
The militants were said to have crossed into Kenya with donkeys which could be carrying ammunition and other supplies, raising suspicion of a planned terrorist attack in Lamu targeting security forces involved in the Linda Boni security operation.
Speaking to the Nation on Wednesday, Lamu County Commissioner Irungu Macharia confirmed having received the reports but termed them as “fake news”.
While countering the reports, Mr Macharia said that the border of Lamu with Somalia is fully secured, further insisting that security agencies are well-prepared for any eventualities.
The county security boss asked residents to “desist from listening to rumours from a few propagandists” who are bound to create unnecessary fear.
He appealed to the public to be calm and vigilant and also be ready to provide information to the security agencies whenever they spot suspicious incidents or individuals.
“We’ve indeed heard about those reports of Al-Shabaab militants and cells spotted. I advise residents to ignore those baseless rumours. We’re on top of things,” said Mr Macharia.
He added, “We must get cooperation from residents to address all security concerns. Let people know that Lamu is secure and there’s no cause for alarm. We’re alert.”
The reports come at a time when Lamu is enjoying peace and stability after years of terror by Al-Shabaab militants in various parts of the region between 2014 and 2017 which left hundreds of people, including security officers and civilians, dead and property worth millions of shillings destroyed.
Residents in Lamu have lauded the Linda Boni operation for bringing down the many cases of Al-Shabaab attacks, attempts and subsequent killings.
In November 2017, security officers taking part in the operation in Boni Forest discovered and destroyed six Al-Shabaab transit camps which had been established inside the forest by the militants.
An assortment of weapons among them several AK-47 rifles, grenade making paraphernalia, foodstuffs and drugs were discovered at the camps.
An undisclosed number of Al-Shabaab terrorists were killed during the ambush and there was subsequent bombing of their hideouts by the security agencies.
In September 2018, officers in the multi-agency security operation discovered and destroyed another Al-Shabaab hideout.