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Passengers assured of security as Mandera buses resume operations

Tuesday July 19 2016
By MANASE OTSIALO

Bus companies in Mandera County are set to resume business on Wednesday after a 17-day protest against insecurity.

Transport from Mandera to Nairobi had been paralysed for more than two weeks following an attack on two buses in which six people were killed.

Announcing the end of the boycott, Mandera Bus Association chairman Mohamed Bardad, said the government had assured them of security on the risky route.

“We have addressed the thorny issues we had with the security teams in Mandera and we shall be back to business starting Wednesday this week,” Mr Bardad said.

He said the association had appealed to the county security team not to bar non-locals from traveling.

“We are all Kenyans and the government has to provide security to everyone without discrimination,” he said.

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Mr Bardad said the association was informed of enhanced security within Elwak sub-county, a terror hot spot, where 11 people have been killed in Al-Shabaab attacks within a month.

“We have been informed of improved security services including installation of a General Service Unit (GSU) station at Borehole 11 to serve the unsafe Kotulo zone,” he said.

Mr Bardad expressed confidence that all arising issues had been settled by the security team and urged travellers to start arranging for their travels.

He said the four bus companies that ply the Mandera-Nairobi route have incurred huge losses due to insecurity in the county.

A sixty-two sitter bus charges Sh3, 000 per passenger from Mandera translating to Sh186, 000 per trip while passengers pay Sh3,500 from Nairobi translating to Sh217, 000.

Mandera County Commissioner Fredrick Shisia confirmed that they had agreed that the buses resume business this week.

“We have addressed security challenges that unfolded along the road and agreed that bus operations will resume on Wednesday,” said Mr Shisia.

He said the new interventions along the road will enhance the safety of passengers, the buses and that of escort police officers.

He said good collaboration between the bus companies and the security agents was the best formula for winning against terror along the road.

"We are calling on the bus companies to share information with security agents so that we can be able to handle the situation," he said.

He said that non locals will be allowed to travel by bus after barring them for the last one month.

“The move to bar non locals from using buses was informed by our networks and was only for a period during Ramadhan. We have reviewed the situation and now all passengers can be ferried,” said Mr Shisia.

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