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Govt to relocate non-Muslims after deadly attacks

07 December 2014, 17:33

Nairobi - The government has derived plans to have 370 non Muslims seeking refuge at the Mandera military camp moved without conceding the calls for evacuation.

The move follows two attacks by militants in the past two weeks over a Nairobi-bound bus, in which they brutally killed 28 non Muslims and the massacre of 36 quarry workers in Mandera.

Mandera County Commissioner Alex Ole Nkoyo confirmed on Saturday that plans were underway to facilitate the transportation of 370 people, stating that all the quarry workers had already been mobilized and assembled at the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) camp.

"We are currently having 370 people at the military camp and we are not evacuating them. We are only facilitating those who want to go home and we are talking to the bus owners in this town to see if we can get up to five and we give them police escort along the way," Nkoyo said.

Reports from the border town said all ground transport and three civilian flights that depart weekly from Mandera are fully booked.

Read Also: Al Shabaab were regular visitors, Mandera quarry massacre survivor reveals

Some trade unions, including those of teachers and medical workers, were advised to leave the area. Those at the base are in fact mainly teachers, health workers, construction workers and other civil servants.

However, the government said besides improving the key roads in Mandera, the KDF and the police were to provide escort for travelers along the dangerous borderline route.

The dilapidated main Mandera-Garissa road has forced motorists to use the road near the Somali border, exposing them to frequent terror attacks in which many have died.

"The government has decided to move these people because the situation has not calmed and the ongoing meeting is to see how we are going to have them transported to Nairobi by road," said one of the sources who attended the Friday meeting in Mandera.

He said security teams had spent the better part of on Friday going round all quarries and moving the workers out for safety considering the recent happenings in which 36 people were killed by suspected Al-Shabaab militia.

"We have gone round areas bordering Somali where their stone quarries and fished out all workers because their security is at stake," Nkoyo said.

"We are talking to the business community to lend us buses to be used and its not that the government is paying the bus fares but only sourcing the buses to be used by those who want to travel, " said Nkoyo.

He said all was well at the KDF camp as the soldiers provided food and water except that there was no enough bedding.

"We are yet to meet all the quarry owners and plan on how to safeguard these workers in future just like in South Africa where miners sleep in protected areas and go to work in the morning," said Nkoyo.

At the KDF camp, Julius Gathu blamed the government for abandoning them and appealed to their families back at home to be calm for they were safe.

"We are safe here except that the government is not being honesty with its plans to have us moved from here," said Gathu, a construction worker now at the military camp.

He said nobody from the government has talked to them but only hearing that 13,400 U.S. dollars has been send in to help them get out of Mandera "but no one is telling us anything."

Gathu said most at the camp wanted to be with their families back at home and those who had lost their brothers were to go and burry them.

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