Workers in Mandera ‘will not be evacuated’

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Non-Muslim civil servants camp at the Mandera airstrip as they demanded to be evacuated in the wake of the terrorist attack. The government asked them to stay on. PHOTO | MANASE OTSIALO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Non-Muslim civil servants camp at the Mandera airstrip as they demanded to be evacuated in the wake of the terrorist attack. The government asked them to stay on.

The government Tuesday refused to evacuate tens of terrified civil servants and their families camping at a military airstrip with their belongings after Al-Shabaab killed 28 of their colleagues last Saturday.

Instead, the government wants them to go back to work and assured them that their security was guaranteed.

But the workers stood their ground and maintained that they feared for their lives and would not leave the military compound.
In a stinging indictment of local police, they said those who volunteered information to the authorities were routinely killed and that police bosses were doing business with the town’s tycoons, apparently known to sponsor terrorism.

The exodus comes in the wake of disclosure that the local governor had warned the government that the area was infiltrated by large groups of armed men from across the border.

There have been two attempts on the life of Governor Ali Roba, who yesterday told the Nation that the military had deployed an armoured unit to guard the road on which the bus was attacked last Saturday. The soldiers were removed some weeks ago for unknown reasons, leaving passengers at the mercy of armed gangs.

A government delegation headed by the President’s Chief of Staff and Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua and Army Commander Jackson Kassaon was in Mandera Tuesday.

Questions are likely to be asked why the government left such a delicate and desperate assignment to civil servants instead of political leadership. A presidency spokesman, Mr Munyori Buku, said the President was due in Nairobi last evening from a four-day official visit to Abu Dhabi.

The President was reported by a leading United Arab Emirates newspaper, Khaleej Times, to have attended a sporting event on Sunday, the Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix, along with presidents and leaders of other countries.

The President, through a statement released the following day by Mr Ruto, condemned the attack and announced that Kenyan forces had swiftly responded, killing more than 100 militants who had allegedly carried out the bus attack.

Tuesday, Mr Ruto spent the day in Nairobi where he met a delegation from the Slovak Republic, among other tasks.


The Mandera attack has intensified calls for President Kenyatta to relieve Interior and National Coordination Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku and Inspector-General David Kimaiyo of their duties.

Yesterday, Mr Kinyua told the desperate workers that the government’s message was that they go back to normal life and that the government was enhancing security patrols in the town by involving the KDF 24 hours a day.

It appears the government fears removing civil servants from the area as it will be seen to have ceded authority over its territory to Al-Shabaab.

Mr Kinyua told the worried crowd: “If we evacuate you then it shall mean we have succumbed to terror. We don’t want to give our sovereign country to other people but we have to sit together and remain united despite being of different religious background.”

He said Mr Ruto had assured the country “that all that needs to be done shall be done in this town to secure the lives and even along the roads”.

“The bulk of the risk is in this town and along the borderline road and the government has pledged to improve the B9 Mandera-Garissa road for a swift movement,” Mr Kinyua said.

Source:Daily Nation

Kasmaal information center/Nairobi /Kenya