The Garissa Senator, Mohamed Yusuf Haji has urged the Kenyan military to reconsider the alleged planned bombing of the Boni forest.
Haji said the military should instead pursue the suspected Al-Shabaab using the forest to carry out incursions on innocent civilians on foot instead of using bombs to smoke them out.
If they must bomb, then they should narrow it to areas that are feasible to avoid wildlife, livestock or even human casualties, Haji said.
In as much as we are in full support of the government move to flash out the militants that are causing human suffering in the surrounding areas, the exercise should not be done in a way it could threaten the lives and livelihoods of our people, he added.
Speaking to KNA on phone Wednesday, Hajji said that the pastoralists were yet to recover from the recent severe drought and majority of them have moved to the grazing fields near the Boni forest and had nowhere else to run to.
Telling the pastoralists to leave is like condemning them. Where will they go and this is the area they have depended on for generations? Hajji said.
On Friday last week, Linda Boni forest operation director Joseph Kanyiri warned the residents living near the forest to move away in 48 hours, saying the government would proceed with plans to bomb Al-Shabaab hideouts.
Meanwhile, following the announcement, hundreds of herders from Garissa who had taken their animals into Boni forest in search of pasture have allegedly started fleeing the area.
One of the herders Abdi Mohamed who spoke to KNA on phone said they were now forced to leave behind their weak and sickly livestock as they looked for alternative source of pasture for their livestock after they were given an ultimatum to leave the forest.
Abdi said most of the herders whose only source of pasture was the Boni forest during dry seasons are in a dilemma and had no idea where to go to.
He said by Tuesday, the bombing had not started but they have witnessed frequent helicopters overflying the forest.
Source: Kenya News Agency