The Lamu County administration has appealed on all returnees who had been recruited to join Al-Shabaab to surrender and register themselves at security offices.
Lamu County Commissioner Joseph Kanyiri has said his office was aware that hundreds of young men and women had secretly returned to the county.
Addressing journalists at Mokowe Trading Centre on Sunday, Mr Kanyiri said the amnesty period announced by the national government about a year ago was still open and urged them to visit various security offices such as county commissioners’ to be registered and later rehabilitated.
He said his office is keeping a close eye on the returnees since they were known to the authorities.
He said an undisclosed number came back following the weakening of the terrorist group.
Additionally, the commissioner said if the returnees do not present themselves before the amnesty lapse, the government will have them arrested and prosecuted.
“Many youth here in Lamu have crossed over to Somalia and joined Al-Shabaab. I am aware that hundreds of the Al-Shabaab returnees have decided to come back home after they were effectively subdued by Amisom forces in Somalia.
“The government is willing and ready to receive and rehabilitate those young men and women only if they will voluntarily surrender and turn themselves in to the authorities. Those who won’t do so will be treated suspiciously,” Mr Kanyiri said.
He observed that since the amnesty introduction in April 2015 no single returnee in Lamu has surrendered to local authorities.
Nonetheless, he said the county administration is alert and is investigating whether the returnees are genuine about their reformation or are acting as spies.
“Some of them retreated because they realized they couldn’t face the Amisom troops there. Some because they discovered the promises made by the militia group were just but a hoax and many more reasons.
“They must surrender so that we see how best to rehabilitate them unless of course they have other plans,” Mr Kanyiri added.
He further called on chiefs to make the Nyumba Kumi initiative a success in order to help fight crime at the grassroots.