By Beth Nyaga
Thirty six suspected Al Shabaab militants have been arrested in Operation Linda Boni which began nine months ago.
The suspects were handed to agencies including the ATPU for profiling and possible prosecution, according to head of security operations James ole Serian.
Serian said on Tuesday that nine security stations comprising the military and members of the KWS and Kenya Forest Service will set up permanent base in the area.
Serian said the operation has been successful but that the terror group based in Somalia remains a threat. He also noted the reemergence of the Islamic State group in Somalia.
“Our security personnel are still holding the fort across the border,” he said, and underlined the need for vigilance.
“Security at the border has been beefed up to ensure terror suspects do not penetrate into the country.”
It emerged in July 2015 that Al Shabaab militants had set up a permanent base in the vast forest and were living there with their families.
The militants and their wives and children hunt game for food and use water from several rivers in the forest.
The disclosure came a day after militants ambushed a police van in Lamu, killed five people, including officers, with an improvised explosive device, and escaped.
The ongoing Operation Linda Boni in Lamu County and areas bordering Ijara and Garissa has recorded great success, seven months after it was launched by Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery.
The multi-agency security operation was launched on September 11, 2015, with its main objective being to hunt down Al-Shabaab militants suspected to be hiding inside the expansive Boni Forest.
The national government launched the operation after Al-Shabaab militants conducted several attacks on civilians, military and police vehicles in Lamu and Garissa.
The operation was intended to end within three months but was later extended for more than two years.
Areas that were earlier targeted for the operation included Holugho border point, Galmagala, Sangailu, Ijara, Masalani, Bodhei, Milimani, Basuba, Kiunga, Mararani, Baure and Ishakani.
In early January 2016, the government announced it would extend the operation to four key areas in Lamu, including Bodhei, Pandanguo, Witu, Pangani and the surrounding areas.