In Summary
  • Mr Lumumba said past mistakes within the security framework in the county had been rectified and that the changes would soon be felt.
  • Earlier reports indicated that some of the workers could have been kidnapped, but Mandera Deputy County Commissioner Elvis Korir said the police were yet to verify the reports.
  • After the latest attack, more than 50 people arrived at the military camp seeking to be evacuated from the county.
  • Ms Ruth Wanjiru, who sold food to the miners, said she had decided to close her business for good.

The bodies of the 36 people killed during an attack at a quarry in Mandera were Tuesday evening airlifted to Nairobi.

The bodies were flown as police in Mandera maintained that security lapses had been sealed despite attacks by Al-Shabaab militants from Somali.

North Eastern Regional Police Commander Patrick Lumumba and Regional Coordinator Earnest Mwinyi said tight measures had been put in place to curb insecurity in the county.

Mr Lumumba said past mistakes within the security framework in the county had been rectified and that the changes would soon be felt.

“We have identified the vital and weak points in our service and we are moving with speed to ensure all is fine within a very short time,” Mr Lumumba said.

He spoke at a Mandera airstrip after the bodies of the 36 victims of the Tuesday morning attack were flown to Nairobi.

The two officials, together with security personnel, have been in the county since Friday last week to assess the security situation after 28 non-Muslims were ambushed in a bus and killed on November 22, 2014.

Tuesday’s attack is the worst to be reported in the expansive county that borders Somalia.

Earlier reports indicated that some of the workers could have been kidnapped, but Mandera Deputy County Commissioner Elvis Korir said the police were yet to verify witness accounts of three survivors.

Mr Lumumba asked the public to remain calm and dismissed claims that the attacks were directed at Christians only.

“We cannot say the Christians are the ones mostly targeted because even in the past, Muslims have been killed, and as we talk, everyone is worried.

“But I want to assure Kenyans that action will be taken in this region to end the insecurity.”

“The terrorists have no tribe or religion. The people can rest assured that these attacks are not directed at any certain tribe or religion,” he added.

On Monday, Mr Mwinyi disbanded the Mandera community policing committee, citing increasing insecurity threats.

NEW POLICING COMMITTEE

Speaking when he met community, religious and administrative leaders, Mr Mwinyi directed Mr Korir to set up a new policing committee.

He added the provincial administration would be held responsible for any security threats in their respective jurisdictions, and urged chiefs to ensure the Nyumba Kumi security initiative is strictly enforced.

Several non-locals who talked to the Nation at the KDF camp where the airstrip is located expressed fears over the increasing attacks targeting them.

After the latest attack, more than 50 people arrived at the military camp seeking to be evacuated from the county.

Another group of 10 people have also been camping at the camp since last week after last week’s bus attack.

“I have lost my friends who worked in different stone quarries and I have decided to leave Mandera no matter what,” said David Chebara.

CLOSED BUSINESS FOR GOOD

Ms Ruth Wanjiru, who sold food to the miners, said she had decided to close her business for good.

“Enough is enough. We are now asking the government to move us out of here fast because we are so worried. We cannot go back to our houses because it is riskier and we don’t know what will happen there,” said Ms Wanjiru, who was visibly shocked after hearing news of the deaths of her customers.

“When teachers and nurses were killed last week, it affected me and now this one; next it might be me.

"I am not leaving this KDF camp until the government comes for me,” she added.

Mama Fatuma Abdi mourned the dead describing the incident as very unfortunate.

Mandera Woman Representative Fathia Mahbub said the attacks were an indication that the government had to be serious in dealing with the runaway insecurity in Mandera.

“We are telling the government enough is enough, and it’s time to take action against the militant group. We are not at peace in this county and seeing people killed like this is so sad,” she said.