Thursday, 30 June 2016

Mandera only allowing Somalis to travel to and from county

Winnie Mabel 5 hours ago 11723
– Senior police officers have banned the traveling of non-Somali Kenyans in and out of Mandera county
– In a measure said to be protecting the lives of innovcent people against al-Shabaab attacks, alternative longer routes have been provided for people to travel between Nairobi and Mandera
– Police sources however claimed that due to poor working conditions, they stopped escorting buses operating between the two counties
Mandera county has banned the travel plans of  non-Somali citizens in and out of the county until Ramadan is over.
According to the Daily Nation, a bus company manager working in the region said the police commander called a meeting for all bus companies and directed them no to allow non-Somalis on board.
Only Somalis have been travelling in and out of the county since Tuesday, June 28.
Acting Mandera East Deputy County Commissioner Yonah Nyawir said that it was a short term move aimed at reducing tension and allow for the reorganisation of security operations.
“We are not barring people from traveling from either Mandera or to Nairobi. We’re saying that they should use alternative means because threats have been eminent for the last 10 days of Ramadan,” explained Nyawir.
He also said that security organs did not want to expose the lives of non-locals and has therefore given them alternative routes.
“They can either use aircraft of use pick-ups plying the Mandera-Takaba-Moyale-Marsabit route until the situation returns to normal after Ramadan. In the meantime, we will be repairing police vehicles and coming up with better security plans,” added Nyawir.
An air ticket out of Mandera to Nairobi costs KSh 16,000 one way according to a local who wanted to travel to Nairobi to attend to his sick spouse.
However, a police sources said officers assigned to escort buses had downed their tools due to the challenges they were facing.
“The Kenya Police Reservists are performing the duties right now because their bosses refused to listen to them and provide extra escort vehicles,
“We asked them to rearrange the seats in the cars so that we could face side ways to monitor the roads but we still seat facing each other making it difficult to escape and fight the enemy if we are attacked,” said the police officer.
Al-Shabaab has been known to attack non Muslims as evidenced when they attempted to kill Christians traveling in a bus with Muslims.
Another evidence of this is when they attacked a number of Christians and non-Somalis during the Garissa University College massacre in 2015.
Earlier this month, intelligence reports said that al-Shabaab militant group had threatened to attack Kenyan soil during the month of Ramadan.
A list of possible target locations included Mandera, Wajir, Nairobi, Mombasa and Garissa.
In the ensuing weeks, a number of attacks were reported out of North Eastern counties after police officers were attacked and five killed in the ensuing fire exchange.
Others were attacked using improvised explosive devises.
Al-Shabaab claimed that the attacks were done to avenge the death of their commander who had been killed in an AMISOM operation near Mogadishu.
In the last two weeks, they have attacked locations close to the Kenya Defense Forces affecting communication and water sources.

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