East Africa: Kenya Says Hunt for Al-Shabaab in Vast Forest On Course

Kenyan authorities said on Tuesday a security operation launched last year to flush out Al-Shabaab militants in the vast forest in the coastal region of Kwale was still underway, with 36 insurgents having been arrested so far.

Head of security operation James Ole Serian said the suspects were handed over to respective security apparatus including anti terrorism police for profiling and possible prosecution as operation in Boni Forest enters its eight month in May.

“The suspects were arrested within the vast forest and several weapons recovered. Some of them were released after being questioned while others were prosecuted by court,” Serian said.

He said they have managed to establish nine security stations which will be based in the area. The vast Boni forest area, along the Kenya Somalia border extends into Somalia to become Lacta Belt.

Several people, including security forces have been killed in attacks by the militants who often used Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).

Serian said although the operation has been successful the military group remains threat in the area hence need of maintaining vigilance in the region.

He said the security has been beefed along the border with Somalia with the emergence of Islamic State militant group in the Horn of Africa nation.

“We have heightened security operations along the Somalia border after intelligence reports indicate that the IS states has already established an allegiance with section of Al-Shabaab group,” Serian said.

According to security experts, the number of foreign fighters joining the Al-Shabaab group has declined drastically following the emergence of Islamic State (IS) group.

Serian lauded local leaders for supporting the initiative that has greatly reduced terrorist attacks in Lamu region that has suffered massacre where more than 100 people were murdered by the militant group.

Source: Forum on China-Africa Cooperation.