Kenyan officials on Monday pledged stern action against members of the public lending support to terrorists along the volatile border with Somalia.
Mohamed Birik, northeastern regional commissioner, said that individuals or groups providing material or logistical support to Somalia-based al-Shabab militants will face the full force of the law.
Birik revealed that security officers who were on a recent patrol mission in the expansive Boni forest stumbled upon 20 jerrycans stuffed with food that were buried underground.
The government official said enhanced patrols inside the al-Shabab hideout of Boni forest that straddles Kenya and Somalia, revealed that members of the local community were accomplishes in terror attacks.
“Our officers upon thorough inspection found that the jerrycans that were buried more than five feat underground were neatly packed with rice, sugar, beans and cooking oil,” Birik told reporters in Garissa.
“This latest incident has confirmed our fears that we have in our midst local people who are aiding terror activities. I would like to issue a stern warning to the collaborators that they will be severely punished once they are identified,” said Birik.
He urged members of the public to be on the high alert and report any suspicious characters in their midst.
“I want to urge the public to be wary of the militants who want to gain entry into the country through the border during this rain season,” said Birik.
The official challenged local administrator like chiefs and their assistants to intensify vigilance and ensure that suspected terrorists and their sympathizers are apprehended.
“The chiefs and their assistants are the eyes of the government on the ground. They are expected to know what is happening especially matters to do with security,” said Birik.
Heavily armed militants who can walk long distance on foot during rainy season always take advantage of the poor infrastructure that undermine patrols along the Kenya-Somalia border.
The government has since last year been recruiting police reservists to boost patrols in the terror hotspots.