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Recruits die at hands of Shabaab over espionage claims

A file photo taken on February 17, 2011 shows Al-Shabaab militants performing military drills at a village in Lower Shabelle in Somalia. Kenyan youth have been cautioned against joining the group. PHOTO | ABDURASHID ABDULLE | AFP
Kenyans who had been recruited into Al-Shabaab are being killed in a worrying manner, the government says.

Operation Linda Boni director James ole Seriani revealed that Kenyan recruits are no longer trusted by the militants in Somalia and are suspected to be government spies.

Addressing journalists at the Mwana Arafa Hotel in Lamu town today, Mr Seriani said a considerable number of recruits from various parts of the country, including Lamu, who crossed into Somalia to join Al-Shabaab have ended up being killed by the terrorists.

SIX KILLED

He cautioned the youth against joining the terror group, saying they stood to get nothing but death there.

“We have reports that at least six Kenyan youth who had joined Al-Shabaab in Somalia were killed between March and April this year alone,” he said.

“Most Kenyan recruits are no longer trusted by the militia group; they are suspected to be Kenyan government spies.

“That’s why we are taking this time to warn youth against joining the Al-Shabaab.”

SECURITY RESTORED

Mr Seriani however said with the ongoing Operation Linda Boni in Lamu and neighbouring counties, security and peace had been restored.

“For the past seven months we haven’t experienced any attacks or attempts from Al-Shabaab,” Mr Seriani said. “This proves that the operation is successful.”

He added: “We have eliminated Al-Shabaab elements hiding deep in Boni Forest.”

COMMUNITY POLICING

Mr Seriani attributed the success of the operation to a committed working relationship between the security agencies and residents, whom he urged to continue co-operating with security agencies.

He said with the help of the public the operation had exceeded its target.

“We have sealed all routes that were used by militants to cross into and hide in Lamu, especially in Boni Forest,” he added. “We have eliminated all terror elements. We can confidently say things are fine again.”

He urged returnees who have secretly crept back into the county to voluntarily submit themselves for rehabilitation, failure to which they would be treated as suspects and get arrested.

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