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21 quarry workers jailed for working in insecure site

04 February 2015, 08:09

Mandera - A court on Tuesday sentenced 21 quarry workers to five months in prison or pay a fine of KES 60,000 each after pleading guilty for defying a directive to vacate the site for security reasons in clash-hit Mandera.

Mandera Resident Magistrate Dancun Mtai said the conduct of the accused was an outright threat not only to security in Mandera but also to their own lives.

"To ensure that security is maintained and unnecessary loss of life is avoided, the accused persons conduct must be discouraged and this court will endeavor to assist all security agencies in the pursuit for peace and security," said Mtai in his ruling.

Al-Shabaab militants in December 2014 killed 36 quarry workers who had been asked to move to a safer place, but they disobeyed. The gunmen attacked the workers while they slept in their tents.

Also read: Mandera teachers protest in parliament, not going back

"In circumstances above and as a means to deter persons who may wish to disobey orders properly issued for their lives and property, accused are hereby sentenced to pay a fine of 60,000 shillings (660 dollars) each and in default to serve 5 months in prison," Mtai ruled.

The accused were charged that on Jan. 25 at Karrow Quarry in Mandera East, they disobeyed an order by the Mandera East Police requiring them to vacate the quarry for security reasons. The accused, however, told the court that they were arrested while waiting for the contracted vehicle to take them away.

Mandera security agencies had issued orders in which all the quarry miners are barred from spending the nights at the quarries after 36 miners were killed late last year.

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