Residents of several villages in Lamu County have fled their homes for fears of attacks after Al-Shabaab terrorists’ attacked Jima Village in Lamu West on Saturday morning, beheading nine people, while several others are missing and are feared to be held hostage by the militants.
The attack on Jima village came after another attack was conducted at Pandanguo, where a police station and a health centre were razed as the terrorists engaged with the police in a seven hour gun fight. Two police officers died during the incident, while several others were injured.
Acting Interior Cabinet Secretary on Saturday imposed dusk till dawn curfew in Lamu, Garissa and Tana-River Counties following the series of attacks by Al Shabaab.
Fifteen heavily armed terrorists stormed Jima Village on Saturday morning, singling out men in the attack by beheading them.
The residents said that despite raising alarm on Friday after spotting a group of suspected Al Shabaab assailants, security officers ignored the alert.
Said Toto, one of the villagers said that the hooded Militants invaded the village around 11pm, going house to house, pulling out men and beheading them.
“The men were tall and hooded. They were talking in Somali and had all sorts of weapons including guns and machetes. They started shooting randomly at us as we were running,” he said.
Toto said: “I hid in the bush behind my house but I could hear them from where I was. They shouted that they were fighting for their land and that is why they wanted the non-locals to vacate the areas”.
Kaingu Kadzomba said that they learnt the militants were also targeting only men from certain communities and religions.
“We were shocked by the manner in which the militants were operating. They only targeted non-Muslims who are not natives of Lamu. All those who were killed were men,” Kadzomba said.
Residents of Kaisari, Poromoko, Nyatha, Jima and even Pandanguo have fled to safer places in Witu, Kipini and Mavuno, even as they plan demonstrations against the government failure to take control of the security situation in the County.
“There was an attack at Pandanguo on Wednesday and we thought the government would ensure such incidents don’t happen again. Now, nine people have been killed. We are not happy with the way the government is dealing with security in Lamu. We had planned to demonstrate from Majembeni, Kibaoni to the office of the assistant County Commissioner in Mpeketoni Town to air our grievances but we were prevented by police,” Gitonga Said.