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Hunter 'spots' armed Shabaab in Boni Forest

THE STAR NEWSPAPER

July 10, 2015

ELKANA JACOB

Security agencies in Mombasa are on high alert after a hunter reported he came face-to-face with armed al Shabaab militants in Milimani, Boni Forest.The hunter, who cannot be identified for security reasons, said the militants threatened to kill him if he reveals their whereabouts to the police.“They were heavily armed and kept on moving with their luggage on their backs. They had an assortment of weapons, including rocket launchers,” he said.The hunter said among the militants were foreigners who looked relaxed.He said others spoke fluent Kiswahili and mother tongue.

A police source told the Star the matter was reported in confidence on Thursday last week.The source said the hunter positively identified some of the attackers as Lamu residents.“The attackers never kill the hunters. In fact, at times they ask them for honey. The hunter who reported has been moved to a safer place,” a senior police officer told the Star yesterday.The militants hiding in the forest are said to be working with local sympathisers, who inform them of police movements.“We are very alert but Boni is extensive. It becomes hard to trace these men since some parts have no [mobile] network,” the officer said.A police report seen by the Star says some al Shabaab militants are moving to Diani, Kwale county, to plan an attack after the killing of their 11 colleagues by KDF in Baure last month.Police have identified routes in Voi, Bachuma, Samburu, Maungu and Taveta that the militants use.Mombasa regional commander Robert Kitur said police are monitoring the militants’ movements round the clock.“We will do whatever it takes to stop these people. We are on high alert,” he said.The suspects are said to be targeting crowded areas, including police stations and churches.