Kenyan police said Monday they have heightened security in the vast Boni Forest in the coastal region following credible intelligence reports that al-Shabab plans to carry out attacks during the end of holy month of Ramadan.
Police spokesman Charles Owino said the deployment follows reports of movements of militants from areas of Somalia close to the border along Kiunga-Hindu route with the intension of carrying out terror attacks.
“This follows information we have received from local communities indicating sightings of suspected militia elements in the dense forests at Kihonge between Witu and Mpeketoni,” Owino said in a statement issued in Nairobi.
The vast Boni forest area along the Kenya Somalia border extends into Somalia to become Lacta Belt (Boni Forest on the Somali side) that was infiltrated by al-Shabab operatives.
The militants have been using the vast Boni Forest as their hideout to launch attacks on the civilians in Lamu.
Owino said security agencies have been able to block and contain attempts to infiltrate the forest to be used as hideouts by the extremist group to launch attacks.
“We have also some credible information on the movements of some militants under the leadership of Maalim Ayman and Mohamed Bilaal in southern Somalia towards the lactabelt who may be planning to infiltrate into the country and carry out attacks against some soft targets within Boni forest in Lamu and its environs,” Owino said.
The al-Shabab have changed tactics and resorted to using improvised explosive devices to carry out attacks in parts of Coast region and North Eastern, according to the police.
The militant group is believed to have fighters operating in the area’s Boni forest that has poor communication network and terrains slowing down police operations. Enditem