The North Eastern Regional Commissioner (RC), Mohamed Birik has issued a stern warning to residents bordering Boni forest against aiding Al-Shabaab militants holed up in the forest.
Speaking during a press conference in his office on Monday, Birik said security officers patrolling the forest on
Sunday stumbled on thirty 20-litre jerricans stuffed with foodstuff and buried in the ground at the edge of the forest in Holugho.
Birik said the recent rains that have been pounding the area could have exposed the containers and the security personnel patrolling the area became curious when they spotted parts of the jerricans partly exposed.
“Upon inspection they found that the thirty jerricans neatly packed and buried some five feet in the ground were stuffed with rice, cooking oil, sugar and beans,” Birik said.
The administrator said that preliminary investigations show the locals collaborating with the militants ferried the
foodstuff and buried them so that members of the militia could come and collect them under the cover of darkness.
He said the recovered consignment has since been destroyed.
“This latest incident has confirmed our fears that we have in our midst locals who are aiding terror activities. I would like to issue a stern warning to the collaborators that they will be severely punished when caught,” Birik said.
Birik urged members of the public to be on the alert and report any suspicious characters residing in their midst.
“I want to urge the public to be wary of the militants who want to gain entry into the country through the border at this time of rains,” he said.
Birik also put chiefs and their assistants on notice, saying that they should be aware of what is happening in their areas of jurisdiction.
“Chiefs and their assistants are the eyes of the government on the ground. They are expected to know what is happening especially on matters to do with security. This should not have escaped their knowledge,” he added.
The militants who can walk long distances on foot during rainy season always take advantage of the bad roads that curtail security patrols to move far and wide to carry out attacks.
Since last year, the government has recruited several Kenya police reservists to augment the task of security personnel patrolling the porous border because the reservists understand the terrain better.
By Jacob Songok