Kenya security forces arrest 'al-Shabaab' militants in Boni Forest.

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Monday November 09, 2015 - 15:34:09 in News in English
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    Kenya security forces arrest 'al-Shabaab' militants in Boni Forest.

    MOMBASA (Xinhua) – Kenya's security forces have arrested several 'al-Shabaab' members in the ongoing operation in the vast forest in the coastal town of Lamu which the militants have been using as their hideout.

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MOMBASA (Xinhua) – Kenya's security forces have arrested several 'al-Shabaab' members in the ongoing operation in the vast forest in the coastal town of Lamu which the militants have been using as their hideout.

The suspects, who include two Tanzanians, were arrested by security personnel combing Boni Forest and handed over to anti-terrorism police unit officers.

Director of operation in Boni James Ole Serian confirmed on Saturday that the police arrested the two who were enroute to Somalia to join the ‘al-Shabaab’ terror group this week.

Ole Serian said five ‘al-Shabaab’ hideouts have been destroyed in the ongoing operation led by Kenya Defense Forces (KDF), noting that the operation is successful and that they have secured the area.

"We have arrested a few ‘al-Shabaab’ suspects who we have interrogated and handed them over to the police, people will be able to see them when they are arraigned in court,” said Ole Serian.

He added that the government had mapped out 13 areas in the area believed to be a hotbed of jihadists linked to multiple terror attacks in Tana River, Garissa and Lamu counties in the last two years.

Police and military officials said the insurgents had permanent bases deep in Boni forest, where they lived with their families and hunt game for food to train and plot and carry out attacks in the Country.

Ole Serian said the security officers in the region have established nine new security camps manned by KDF, paramilitary police and other security agents to secure the expansive forest that extends into Somalia.

"We have setup new camps in Panda Nguo, Witu, Mararani, Bodhei, Mangai among others with enough security personnel stationed there, we will also build permanent houses for our officers,” said Ole Serian.

Most of the militants who had infiltrated the forest have abandoned the camps and fled to Somalia, according to military and police sources.

Militants of the 300-man Jeysh Ayman, an ‘al-Shabaab’ cell, used the vast Boni’s cover as an operational base for recruiting and waging terror attacks in the coast region

He said they will continue with the operation until they are sure that the area is completely secure noting that they are not tied to the three month deadline, hinting that they might continue for even two years.

The police believe that the insurgents conduct a terror attack, flee back into the safety of the forest and give security units the impression that they have already crossed back into Somalia.

The surrounding Boni community is aware of ‘al-Shabaab’ s presence and many hunters and gatherers have opted to keep away for fear of being shot by the militants or KDF soldiers.

The forest is surrounded by three KDF camps – one located between Milimani and Basuba, another on a border strip separating Kiunga and Ijara and the major military camp in Bargoni.

The East African nation has been a soft target for terrorist activities since 1998 and the menace has evolved as radical groups from the Horn of Africa infiltrate the country to kill and maim innocent civilians.

Experts say what has changed and are noticeable for it is the increase in vigilance by the general public and the fact that if they see something that they consider to be suspicious, they are more likely to report it to the police than they were.




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