Sunday, May 29, 2016
Kenya Red Cross officials attend to families that fled their homes in Milimani and Basuba in Lamu County for fear of attacks by Al-Shabaab terrorists in 2015. The Boni people have been urged to take-up farming to avert a hunger crisis since Operation Linda Boni has disrupted their hunter-gathering lifestyle. PHOTO | ATHMAN OMAR | NATION MEDIA GROUP
By KALUME KAZUNGU
Boni people have been denied access to the forest which they rely on for food.
Lamu County government has urged the hunters and gatherers who live in the Boni Forest to take-up farming to avoid hunger crisis.
Hundreds of Boni people live in Lamu East where a multi-agency security team has been conducting Operation Linda Boni to root out Al-Shabaab militants from the forest.
Since the onset of the security exercise nine months ago, Boni people have been denied access to the forest for honey harvesting, hunting and gathering food and consequently forced to depend on aid from the government.
In a programme to boost uptake of farming among the Boni people, the national government in conjunction with Lamu County and Kenya Red Cross supplied hundreds of households with free seeds and fertiliser.
Speaking to Nation in Lamu on Sunday, Lamu County Commissioner Mr Joseph Kanyiri said maize, green grams and amaranth seeds had already been distributed to all the families in Basuba, Milimani, Mangai, Mararani and even at the Bodhei junction.
Mr Kanyiri advised the Boni people, particularly those living in the operation areas, to embrace farming to avoid a looming hunger crisis.
“The Lamu County and Red Cross distributed seeds to the Boni people with view to improve food sustainability. I urge them to take farming seriously and stop relying entirely on relief food from the government and well-wishers,” said Mr Kanyiri.
He said apart from fighting Al-Shabaab militants inside the Boni Forest, the multi-agency Operation Linda Boni team was also meant to improve socio-economic roles including creating opportunities for the people to improve their livelihood.
The national government will this week dispatch a new consignment of relief aid to the Boni people living in the operation areas.
“The government has dispatched a new consignment of food which includes rice, beans and cooking oil. We expected to start distribution of the food by Monday. I assure all that the aid will go on as long as the operation lasts,” said Mr Kanyiri.
This comes in the wake of outcry from the Boni community who claimed that the national government had neglected them.