By Mwakwaya Raymond
The government has lifted ban on night travels along Lamu-Witu-Garsen road.
Coast regional Commissioner Mr John Elungata says transporters and private motorists are free to play the route.
The regional boss says the lifting of the ban follows great improvement on security in the area.
However, PSV motorists including operators of buses and matatus will have to wait a little longer.
Speaking during a public baraza held in Witu on November 29, Mr Elungata stated that the national government is still remaining vigilant to any insurgent threats.
“The national government is keen to ensure that normalcy returns to Lamu, with steps already underway to build 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 travellers on the Lamu-Garsen road since 2014 have only been allowed to travel or operate by day only and using security escorts.
He 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 the Boni area.
“Residents need to aid security agents tackle the violent extremism which threatens 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 activities that they may note in the area.
Proposed KDF camp
Elungata further noted that 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 accused certain unscrupulous land grabbers and invaders for disrupting the national and county government efforts to tackle land management in Lamu, which 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.
Sentiments echoed by Lamu West MP Stanley Muthama who stated that there is cause for concern especially with the land invasion incidents affecting areas such as Witu-Nyongoro in which land invaders have entered into people’s ranches and laid claim to land that does not belong to them.
“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 further noted that there is need to address herder-farmer conflicts which he opined have been on the decline due to the prevailing drought situation.
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 situation.
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.
Coast Regional Commissioner John Elungata addressing Lamu residents at Jamhuri grounds in Witu.