Tana River County Commissioner Oning’oi ole Sosio has asked residents to cooperate with security officers during the festive season to ensure security is upheld.
Sosio told those wishing to hold night vigils (keshas) during Christmas and New Year celebrations to do so only after getting clearence by security officers.
Mr. Sosio said the County Security and Intelligence Committee has done everything possible to ensure that wananchi celebrate peacefully and securely.
“We have developed an elaborate security operation in which we have put up all logistics to ensure there is no problem during the festivities,” he said.
He particularly asked the residents of Tana Delta to seek clearance from the office of the Sub County Police Commander at Minjila, which is the command centre of a security operation to rescue kidnapped Italian Sylvia Romano, before holding night vigils.
Speaking to reporters in his Hola Town office Monday evening, Mr. Sosio said the operation to rescue the Italian lady was still ongoing and called on residents with information on her whereabouts to inform the multi-agency security team carrying out the exercise.
Ms Romano was kidnapped at a children’s home in Chakama Village of Kilifi County in early November and security officers believe her captors are holding her somewhere in Tana Delta Sub County.
He asked residents to report any suspected criminal activities and strangers in their midst to the nearest police stations and posts, and where these are not available, to chiefs, assistant chiefs and headmen.
“In Tana Delta Sub County, we are still going on with the operation to find and rescue the Italian woman and we have deployed lots of police officers to look for her,” he said adding that the operation was not aimed at infringing on the rights of residents.
He said the government had sealed off all crossing points along the river Tana and restricted the movement of dugout canoes, especially at night, to ensure they are not used by the criminals to cross towards Somalia.
The county commissioner said investigators were still holding a suspect believed to have taken part in the actual kidnapping of Ms Romano while others who had been arrested had been questioned and released.
Asked whether the incident was a terrorist activity, the county commissioner said police officers were yet to establish the actual motive but declined to divulge more information.
He said it had taken long for the officers to locate the Italian woman and her captors due to the vastness of the county, dense forests and the fact that the county is sparsely populated.
The CC however expressed optimism that the woman would be found and rescued.
Mr. Sosio said the criminals were using propaganda to confuse the officers but warned them that it would not take long before they are apprehended.
By Emmanuel Masha