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Economy

Kenya closes border with Somalia in Lamu over security concerns

Fishermen in Lamu
Fishermen in Lamu. Al-Shabaab militants have also targeted fishermen and tourists. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Kenya has closed its border with Somalia in Lamu indefinitely as security operations against Al -Shabaab militants intensify.

Lamu County Police Commander Muchangi Kioi said the border will only remain open to security officers.

The country has also prohibited residents living in the border villages from cross-border trade.

Mr Kioi said those who contravene the directive will lose their business permits and will be arrested.

The border closure comes barely a week after fishing off the Coast near the Somalia border were outlawed. Authorities cite increased illegal trade, including fake goods and human and drug trafficking rise in the area.

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The county police chief says officers have been patrolling Ishakani, Kiunga and Ras Kamboni to effect the ban and that they have seized 10 bags of contraband sugar and several cartons of milk.

“We have seized at least 10 bags of illegal sugar of Brazilian origin. They were purchased from Somalia by residents in Kiunga. 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 which must stop. It is now a crime the border remains closed until further notice,” said Mr Kioi.

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