September 6th 2015, the Kenyan Government has dispatched the first group of security forces to flush out the Al Shabaab militants believed to have found safe haven in Boni forest.
The security forces have set camps in four regions within two counties bordering the Boni forest.
Boni is an expansive forest along Kenya- Somalia border. Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinett declared the areas as volatile and dangerous.
Battalion of Kenya Defence Forces together with paramilitary wing of the General Service Unit have pitched camp at Bodhai and Hulugo in Ijara sub County of Garissa County and another group deployed to Mangai and Baure in Lamu County.
The operation meant to unravel and flush out the Al Shabaab militants is expected to go for three months.
The arrival of security team has caused fears and anxiety among residents many who were displaced by the militants from Basuba village. However, the locals encouraged to cooperate with security forces as they are better versed with the area and the terrain.
Many locals from villages along the Boni forest mainly Wata and Wasanye are hunters and gatherers and subsist on forest farming and thus they can be very helpful in providing intelligence to the security forces.
Intelligence agency has previously pointed out that Jaysh Ayman believed to be an affiliate of Al Shabaab dedicate to carryout campaigns in the coastal regions of Kenya has massively recruited locals from Kilifi and Mombasa counties.
The outfit is also believed to be linked with controversial mosques in Mombasa from where they were reportedly recruited in 2001 before heading to get training in Somalia.
The militants hiding in Boni forest estimated close to 300 are believed to have a hand in Mpeketoni massacre as well as Hindi areas of Lamu and Gamba areas of Tana River.
The militants believed also to have spread out to Yumbis and Galmagalla areas of Fafi Sub County in Garissa.
SUMMARY & FORECAST
Al Shabaab militant group seem to be exploiting he forested areas on the boundary between Lamu and Garissa and sections of the Kenya border with Somalia that meets the Indian Ocean.
The militants are believed to be the ones behind sporadic guerilla attacks on the Kenyan security forces.
During this operation it is highly recommended to cooperate with security forces and if anyone has any weapon to hand it over to the authorities.
Boni forest has over the years been thought to have provided a safe haven for not only Al Shabaab militants but also the local militia blamed for the spate of killings that rocked Tana River County in 2012.
Residents along the expansive forest border have severally indicated that the militants come from the forest to launch attacks in the area especially citing killings witnessed in Mpeketoni, Poromoko and Hindi.