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Chinese constructor resumes work after security assurance

17 December 2013, 12:00

Moyale - A Chinese roads construction firm, Wu Yi has resumed work on the Isiolo-Moyale road that connects Kenya and Ethiopia after the government deployed Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) who have helped quell the clashes in northern region.

Marsabit County Commissioner Isaiah Nakoru said the construction of Turbi-Moyale (A2) road has resumed after the government beefed up security for them and their property.

"Road construction has resumed. The joint security operation had successfully flushed out militias out of the areas and they have now embarked on patrols," Nakoru told Xinhua by telephone on Monday.

He said the government will not accept such big projects to stop due to community conflict and assured that the government will continue to offer them security until they complete their work.

Wu Yi was forced to suspend its work last week in the region following clashes that left several people killed and vehicles burnt.

The company's workers, security team vehicles and machinery came under heavy attack by armed militias engaged in the conflict forcing them to close down for two weeks.

The militias were fighting at Turbi in Marsabit North, Walda and Makutano in Moyale where the construction work was going on.

"We have decided to suspend construction work along Isiolo, Moyale highway due to insecurity but will resume work when the situation normalizes," the Chinese firm said on Dec. 2.

The firm said a fire exchange between the rival group Borana and Gabra communities forced its 14 workers to flee the area where they were conducting hydro-geological survey.

The Chinese firm said the militias used grenades and mortars during a fierce fire exchange that lasted for hours.

The Isiolo-Moyale road is the Kenyan section the Trans-Africa Highway Corridor being upgraded to bitumen standards by the government with support of the African Development Bank (ADB) and China Exim Bank.

The Kenyan section of the corridor starts at the Tanzanian border of Namanga, through Nairobi, Thika Super Highway-Isiolo, Marsabit and terminates at the border with Ethiopia in Moyale.

The road is also a key link to the Great North Trans African Highway that links Cape Town, South Africa to Cairo, Egypt and has been identified as a priority project in the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) short-term action plan.

The construction work came into a halt after rival communities through its militias resorted to attacking, burning and looting vehicles along the highway.

One of the firm's vehicles was hijacked on Dec. 1 at 11:00hrs by armed militias who waylaid their land cruiser belonging to the KM93 Camp of the Contractor of Upgrading of Marsabit-Turbi Road Project along two other public vehicles.

A truck belonging to a senior businessman was set ablaze by armed militia as bandits resorted to roads as revenge measures the same day. The driver of the second truck managed to escape.

- Xinhua

Security personnel from Turbi rescued passengers aboard the truck that was burnt. Contingent of security officers continue to keep vigil along the highway with the buses and other trucks resuming their business.

The vehicle owners who are operating in the region hailed the government for the swift action by restoring peace and order.


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