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The border between Kenya and Somalia in Lamu has been closed indefinitely as security operations against Al Shabaab militants from Somalia intensify. The closure comes barely a week after fishing activities off the Coast near the Somali border were barred.

According to the Lamu County Police Commander Mr. Muchangi Kioi, the border closed by Kenyan government will only remain open to security officers while residents living in the border villages have been prohibited from any cross-border trade.

The county police chief added that anyone disregarding the directive will lose their business permits and will be arrested as well. According to the authorities, the region has increasingly become a hub for illegal trade that entails passage of fake goods and human and drug trafficking.  

“We have already seized at least 10 bags of illegal sugar of Brazilian origin. They were purchased from Somalia by residents in Kiunga. I want to make it clear that it is an offence to engage in any manner of cross-border trade with those from Somalia. Apart from security concerns, we are also aware of human and narcotics trafficking. That must stop. It is now a crime and for those who do not know, the border remains closed until further notice,” said Mr Kioi.

The police boss also issued a stern warning on shop owners who sell commodities from Somalia as well as those ferrying products from Kenya to Somalia.

“Those smuggling contraband items from Kenya into Somalia and vice versa will have themselves to blame. We will destroy those items and close your shop. We will also arrest and prosecute you,” he said.

The Lamu Somalia border has not been safe and out of trouble since the year 2011 when Al Shabaab militants abducted fishermen and tourists.

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