(eTN) – Tomorrow, the annual Maulid Festival in Lamu will get underway, and up to 80,000 visitors are expected to descend on the archipelago in the coming weeks, to celebrate the birth month of the Prophet Mohamed as done every year. The Festival is co-organized by the National Museums of Kenya and the Riyadha Mosque in Lamu, aimed at promoting the rich Islamic history and culture as found still today in the ancient town. Hoteliers are confident that the festival this year will kick-start tourism to Lamu and the neighboring areas of the Kenya coast, severely impacted last year by a series of raids by terrorists from across the border in Somalia.
However, the iron fist reaction by Kenya’s military, now advancing on Kismayu, the last major base of the terrorist Al Shabab group, has created a wide buffer zone, and a regular source from Mombasa said: “Security has been stepped up a very great deal. Immigration has been on the lookout for potential trouble makers claiming to want to visit Lamu for the festival and the town, and surrounding areas are saturated with police, army units, and special security operatives to ensure a peaceful celebration of the prophet’s birth month.”
Bus companies operating between Mombasa, Malindi, and Lamu have increased capacity, and airlines flying to Lamu’s aerodrome from Nairobi, Mombasa, and Malindi have also added flights, with additional charters operating during the festival month over and above the daily scheduled operations.