"Non-locals" stranded in Kenyan border town over insecurity
MANDERA, Kenya, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- Several non-local Kenyans living and working in the restive border town of Mandera have been stranded for days after commuter buses refused to ferry them over insecurity.
The residents on Tuesday morning held demonstration demanding government to intervene by providing armed police escort to buses plying Mandera-Nairobi route since the Al-Shabaab has been targeting buses ferrying non-locals (Christians) and killing commuters.
Mohamed Bardad, the chairman of Mandera Bus Association said the move follows the government's withdrawal of armed security escort.
Bardad said the action is meant to protect non locals residing Mandera which has been rocked by increased terror attacks by Al-Shabaab.
"We cannot risk lives of fellow Kenyans as they are the target of Al-Shabaab attacks, without armed police esco rt we are going to suspend transport for non-locals and not on bad intention but to protect lives," Bardad said.
According to Bardad, only passengers of Somali origin are allowed in the buses, with owners saying they are under strict instructions not to ferry non-locals.
He also said some residents in central and eastern Kenya are threatening to stop Mandera buses from plying through the vast regions for refusing to carry their families and friends.
Bardad said the residents claimed that if the buses cannot carry non-locals then they must find alternative routes to Nairobi.
Mandera County has been scene of vicious attacks since 2014 where dozens of non locals have been killed in commuter buses, quarry sites and in other social places.
Al-Shabaab militants have claimed responsibility for such past massacres in which they said were in retaliation after Kenyan soldiers launched cross border attack in southern Somalia to face the insurgents i n 2011.
The county and other parts of northern Kenya have been subjected to successive explosive attacks by Al-Shabaab operatives in the country following the onslaught by Kenyan soldiers on the Al-Shabaab in Somalia.
Mandera County Commissioner Fredrick Shisia said the government is strategizing its security operations on the roads following an attack on two escort vehicles that were burnt by the Al-Shabaab recently.
"At the moment we have withdrawn armed police escort following continued attacks on our installations, but will resume after all is okay," Shisia said.
James Njuguna who works as a mansion in Mandera town said his dreams of going for December holidays have been shattered as he cannot afford air ticket.
"It is 310 U.S. dollar in return flight, my job cannot be able to give me the money to enable me to take a flight to Nairobi," said Njuguna.
The non-locals have held a series of demonstrations since Mond ay to press the government to accord the vehicles armed security escort.Source: Google News