Demonstrators arrested for blocking road
21 April 2016, 15:03
Isiolo - Forty people have been arrested for blocking Isiolo-Nanyuki road during demonstrations following a disagreement over the use of water in Meru and Isiolo counties.
Isiolo County Commissioner, George Natembeya confirmed the arrest of those who had barricaded the section of the road at Maili-Saba market and said the government would be providing security to the contractor so that he can install the pipes at the proposed water intakes.
Natembeya warned politicians and individuals inciting the Meru community to resist the water project because the water flow would be regulated.
Police were deployed in the area to provide security to the contractor sent by the government and to counter arising resistance from Maili-Saba residents.
The residents of Maili-Saba and Buuri staged demonstration and blocked the highway protesting the move by contractors to install water pipes at two intakes in Kithima and Rugusu areas.
Confrontations lasted hours forcing both Meru and Isiolo security teams to unblock the road which was barricaded with stones and boulders making it difficult for motorists.
The water project rolled out by the national government to enhance water supply to Isiolo town in phase two of the expansion program faces resistance from a section of local people.
The project is funded by the National Government and the African Development Bank (ADB) and is 99 per cent complete.
Once complete, it will supply water to the Isiolo International Airport under the 2030 flagship projects.
Isiolo River flows from Meru to Isiolo downstream and has been at the centre of contention with residents from Buuri Sub-County in Meru County claiming that once the water is pumped to Isiolo, farmers depending on the river for irrigation would be adversely affected.
Isiolo Water and Sewerage Company (IWASCO) Managing Director, Joseph Guyo said the project would have been complete but delayed due to resistance from the community.
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