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Lamu security agents warn PSV vehicle drivers against flouting police escort regulations.

Lamu’s top security brass has issued a stern warning against Public Service Vehicle (PSV) operators found flouting security escort regulations for all buses and matatus travelling between Mokowe and the Garsen Junction.
According to Lamu Police County Commander, Perminus Kioi some Nissan PSV operators have been leaving as early as 5:00 am in order to beat getting aligned with the traffic escorts in a bid to reach Mombasa early.
PSV operators have resorted to travelling that early in order to avoid the numerous check points devised to ensure travellers’ safety as well as road safety in Lamu.
“All PSV vehicles plying from Lamu-Witu-Garsen Road must be under police escort at all times and we will not tolerate drivers who flout these rules because they are wilfully endangering their passengers’ lives,” Kioi added.
He further stated that the police escorts issue has been opposed by local leaders and activists on the grounds that travellers are harassed by police and KDF officers yet the escorts and searches are key to ensuring that no Al-Shabaab or Al-Jayt militant elements cross through Kenya’s Lamu border.
“We are not harassing anyone in the matatu industry, as all we are emphasising is that the police escort are a cautionary measure to ensure that no road attacks are carried out on civilians” he stated.
These sentiments were echoed by security agents who revealed that unless the police escorts are adhered to by PSV vehicles there are no absolute guarantees that an IED attack cannot take place.
He cited PSV vehicles flouting the escort rules as those from AL-Wahim and Munawar Sacco.
“These vehicles are the ones flouting the security escort regulations by ferrying passengers as early as 4am in the morning while others do so after 6pm”, the police commander said .
“I have information that two matatu passenger vehicles are contravening the TLB act, they are ferrying passengers as early as 4am, endangering the lives of the passengers and theirs and also the property they are using” Kioi added.
Since the Mpeketoni and subsequent attacks by the alshabaab militants in Lamu county, transport in the county has been adversely affected with no night travel taking place.
Vehicle movements are regulated while travelling is based on police escorts in order to keep roadside attacks by Al Shabaab militants at bay.
In August 2017 suspected Al Shabaab militants ambushed five buses (Tawakal and Mombasa Raha,Simba Coach,Kipini Express,T.S.S) at Nyongoro area and gave the passengers CD’s believed to have recorded radicalized information and leaflets that warned all to avoid using police or government vehicles as they are targeting them.
The ambushes have also left several government vehicles burnt by the militants.
By Amenya Ochieng

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