Nairobi, Kenya — A visibly angry Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta declared what he described as a “major security operation” with the goal of destroying the Somalia-based terror group Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen operating within the Lamu and Tana River counties in northeastern Kenya.
Kenyatta assured the local population that the al-Shabaab terrorist that have been killing and maiming civilians within Lamu County would be found, adding that his orders to the Kenyan Defense Force (KDF) tasked for this operation were simply “kill and bury them [al-Shabaab]” saying; “Let me assure residents of Mpeketoni and Lamu that the government is prepared to face the terrorists. We shall finish them.”
This latest aggressive stance from Kenyatta and the Kenyan government falls on the heels of several attacks in recent months possibly perpetrated by the Kenyan-based al-Shabaab “elite terror cell” known as Jaysh Ayman. The group has claimed several improvised explosive attacks against Kenyan security and police units in the Lamu County area with the most recent gruesome attack occurring in the village of Jima where suspected Jaysh Ayman insurgents beheaded nine non-Muslim men on or around the 9th of July.
The Kenyan-based terror cell of al-Shabaab is reportedly hiding within the Boni Forest National Reserve where there is already an operation to root out Jaysh Ayman by the KDF known as ‘Operation Linda Boni’ which has been on-going since 2015. It is unknown if Kenyatta is talking about increasing KDF troop numbers within this operation or has authorized a whole new military venture within the region.
However, the Coastal Regional Coordinator, Nelson Marwa, also the spokesperson for the current Linda Boni operation, believes this is just a political stunt by Kenyatta saying the raids and now this new effort against al-Shabaab are designed to prevent residents in Lamu and Tana River counties from voting in the upcoming presidential election on August 8th.
However Deputy President William Ruto has this to say in response, “We are confident of defeating them come August 8 elections since they have nothing to show. We urge you to come out in large numbers on August 8 in order to ensure we form the next government.”
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