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Al-Shabaab bus attack wrecks lives of Mandera residents

29 November 2014, 11:09

Mandera - The massacre of 28 non-Muslims by Somali militants Al-Shabaab in Mandera has been one of the deadliest terrorist killings in the county's history, which resulted in a devastating effect on residents.

The killing, which met residents with a rude shock, has not only dealt a big blow to bereaved families but also Mandera county government. Many teachers, health workers and civil servants are pondering on their future in the county.

Felix Kagwe, a teacher who sought refuge at a local Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) camp over insecurity threats, says he has been teaching in the region for over six years, and never imagines people being killed discriminately on the basis of the faith they profess.

"We have lived with our Muslim brothers for a very long time, personally I have many local friends whom I share my concerns but here I cannot live in my house as threats to my life are rife," Kagwe said on Thursday.

"I cannot also use the road to travel back home, memories of those who died are still lingering in my mind," added Kagwe, as he addressed a Nairobi delegation led by head of civil service Francis Kinyua.

"Before we bury our beloved ones, I do not think I can work again, other things will follow next year but as per now, my head is filled up with bad memories," said Kagwe as he looked on Kinyua who was in a situation analysis visit at the KDF camp.

The Somali militants attacked a bus in Mandera at dawn and killed 28 passengers who could not recite an Islamic faith on Nov 22, which has sparked mass exodus of the non- Muslims in the region.

Kenneth Mulinga, a clinical officer camping at the KDF base, said he could not be able to live like before at his one room at the referral hospital, where one of his friend Denis Biese died in the attack.

"Our compound is not fenced, I fear being attacked at night, until the health executive guarantees my security, I better be redeployed to other counties as my life is of paramount importance than work," Mulinga told Xinhua on Thursday.

"The government has continuously ignored our demand for transport to Nairobi, knowing well that our roads are not safe. I cannot board the same vehicle where my friends were killed mercilessly," he added.

Peninah Wanjiku, a casual worker in Mandera town, said she can not go wash clothes after 5:00 p.m. "At 4:00 p.m., I usually down my tools, and then leave for home as I do not want to be cornered on the way home," she said.

This is so even after the government has heightened security by including KDF in day and night patrols, mostly at hotspot areas.

Mandera Governor Ali Roba has cautioned residents against being divided along religious line, noting that it will be a score for the terrorists.

"My own life has been attempted four times, Muslims have also been killed like last July killing of nine police officers as they gave a chase to a hijacked miraa van," Roba said.

He lamented that the porous borders of Mandera, Wajir and Garissa counties have become the entry points of Al-Shabaab insurgents, resulting in increased terror activities in the country.

Also read: Slain clinical officer had premonition of massacre

"The government must be alert by putting in place its best brains and equipment to flash out the militants and avert attacks, " he said.

However, fears by non local residents that their lives are in danger following continued threats allegedly by the locals. The education and health sectors will highly be affected as over 90 percent of the workers come from other parts of the country.

Already unions representing doctors, teachers and civil servants have advised members to leave until security forces can ensure their safety. The call could affect more than 10,000 teachers and 16,500 civil servants in major towns such as Mandera, Wajir and Garissa.

Mandera Deputy County Commissioner Elvis Korir said the government is on top of things and residents should not be panic.

"We will be playing into the game of our adversaries if we live in fear. They executed killings so as to instill fear; let's not make them feel as if they have won," Korir said.

For the latest on national news, politics, sport, entertainment and more follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page!

- Xinhua


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