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Elungata lifts ban on night travel along Lamu-Garsen road

Private transporters can now be able to ply the Lamu-Witu-Garsen road at night due to improved security in the county, Coast Regional Commissioner John Elungata has stated.

Public service vehicles are however not as night travel ban for them remains.

The reprieve for non-PSV vehicles follows the national government lifting of the nationwide curfew last month.

Speaking at a public baraza in Witu, Elungata stated that the national government would remain vigilant to prevent terrorism hence the need to maintain the night travel ban on PSV vehicles.

“The national government is keen to ensure that normalcy returns to Lamu, with steps already underway to construct two new security roads that will enhance our security agents’ response time to any insecurity incidents that could be reported,” he stated.

Public service vehicles owners and travelers on the Lamu-Garsen road have only been allowed since 2014 to travel or operate by day and having security escorts.

Elungata further urged the public to report any terrorist linked activities that they come across, highlighting the continued threat of IED use on non-tarmacked roads especially within Boni area.

“Residents need to aid security agents tackle the violent extremism which keeps areas such as Milimani, Baure and Barsuba from being fully opened up to the public due to the threat of IEDs in the Boni area,” the senior public administrator said. He further called on chiefs to be vigilant and report any suspicious people.

He at the same time said the national government is set to acquire Nairobi Ranch that has already been earmarked as a KDF training camp adding that such measures are part of the government’s agenda to tackle violent extremism in the region.

“We have also noted that there has been a major influx of people from other regions which is causing a concern due to the high rate of land invasions that is taking place in Lamu presently,” he said.

He hit out at unscrupulous land grabbers and invaders for disrupting the national and county government efforts to tackle land management in Lamu which he noted was still hampered by historical land injustices.

“The squatter problem is being tackled by both the national and county governments collaboratively, and both political and religious leaders have been at the forefront coming to my office to ask that land issues be resolved,” he said.

Lamu West MP Stanley Muthama echoed the administrator’s sentiments stating there is cause for concern especially with the land invasion incidents affecting areas such as Witu-Nyongoro.

“There is a need to ensure that the truth is spoken when it comes to land issues and land invaders are on notice because they are the source of conflict among communities that have co-existed peacefully for years,” Muthama said.

He said there is need to address herder/farmer conflicts over pasture due to prolonged drought.

Lamu County Commissioner Irungu Macharia on his part stated that the national government was set to provide cash transfer instead of food relief for vulnerable Lamu residents affected by the prevailing drought.

He revealed that by next month the national government would be making cash transfers to vulnerable Kenyans across the country affected by the drought situation.

He also decried the poor uptake of COVID-19 vaccine across the county and urged residents to take the free vaccines in a bid to stamp out the COVID-19 crisis. Only 2 per cent of Lamu population has so far been vaccinated against COVID-19.

By Amenya Ochieng

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