Bus driver injured in Shabaab attack in Mandera appeals for medical help

He said a tetanus jab was administered after the attack and he now needs better treatment.

Wednesday March 16 2016

Children look at the Makkah bus that was

Children look at the Makkah bus that was attacked by Al-Shabaab militants on December 21, 2015. The driver, who was shot in the leg, is now appealing for help to get specialised treatment. FILE PHOTO | MANASE OTSIALO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By MANASE OTSIALO
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The driver of a bus that was attacked by Al-Shabaab militants in Mandera in December 2015 is appealing for financial assistance to treat his gunshot wounds.

Mr Farah Shukri, a bus driver with the Makkah company, whose vehicle was attacked by militants on December 21, 2015 in Mandera County, sustained bullet injuries in his left leg and now needs urgent medical attention.

"I was behind the wheel when Al-Shabaab attacked my bus between Kotulo and Borehole 11. They shot me in the left ankle, which has kept on swelling since then," said Mr Shukri.

He said a tetanus jab was administered on him when he was taken to Elwak Sub-County Hospital and since then he has been unable to get better medical care.

"I have kept on driving on the same road despite my medical condition because I have to feed my family and pay school fees with the little pay, which cannot afford me better medication," said Mr Shukri.

NO MEDICAL COVER

He said the company he works for does not provide medical cover, adding that he would appreciate any support for his treatment.

"I have a feeling the bullet is lodged in my ankle more than three months after the incident, but it will be proved by a good medical examination,” said Mr Shukri.

Mr Shukri was among Muslims who shielded Christians when the bus was attacked by Al-Shabaab militants by declining to be separated along religious lines.

"The attackers killed one passenger on my bus and another one on a lorry behind us but we collectively saved many lives after we advised Muslim women to give clothes to Christians on board," said Mr Shukri.

During the attack, Christians dressed in Islamic attire to disguise themselves as Muslims and mingled freely with other people to avoid easy identification by attackers.

SHIELDED CHRISTIANS

"I was the first person to be pulled off the bus by attackers after they opened my door, but I maintained that I was only carrying Muslims and if they wanted to kill anybody, then it was better they kill all of us on board," the driver said.

He said most of the injured passengers had been helped to get medical care except him.

"The county government promised to have me treated well, but since then they closed their doors on me and even a sitting Member of Parliament has disappeared with his promise of helping me get treated," said Shukri.

A local teacher who succumbed to bullet injuries from the attack was given a heroic send-off by the national government and Shukri now feels forgotten.

"I am in dire need of treatment because the injury is a challenge to me as I can't drive for long hours like I used to do in the past," he said.

The buses plying the Mandera-Nairobi route cover over 1,100 kilometres, with several stops due to insecurity.

"The buses have one driver all the way from Nairobi to Mandera and back, but in my current situation life is becoming quite difficult,” he said.

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