The government has ordered that all buses plying routes in North-Eastern Kenya must have a police escort before embarking on their journeys, failing which bus owners and drivers will be charged and their licences revoked.
North-Eastern Regional Commissioner Nick Ndalana said the order must be enforced in order to avert the growing cases of attacks against passenger buses.
This follows Wednesday’s bus attack in Sarman area, Mandera County, which saw three people killed by suspected Al-Shabaab militants.
He spoke to journalists at Marsabit County headquarters where he was accompanied by the Eastern Regional Commissioner Isaiah Nakoru.
“Following the attack reported in Mandera county, all owners of buses plying the attack-prone areas will be required to have their buses escorted by police or they will have their licences revoked,” Mr Ndalana said.
BODA BODA BAN
Additionally, the government has banned boda-boda operators from operating past 6pm effective Wednesday.
Commissioner Nakoru banned operation of all motorcyclists along the Kenya-Ethiopia-Somalia border.
He said it was established that some motorcyclists were involved in terrorist and drug peddling networks in the regions.
“We have established from our conclusive year-long investigations carried out on the conduct of boda-boda operators that they greatly aid the escalation in drug trafficking and terrorism activities. We, therefore, issue a ban on their operation past 6pm,” Mr Nakoru said.
The areas to be affected by the ban are Moyale Sub-County in Marsabit, Mandera, Garissa and Wajir, Lamu and Turkana counties.
His sentiments were echoed by Mr Ndalana who also agreed that the ban would help safeguard lives as the government ponders lifting it in the future when sanity is restored in the region.
Mr Ndalana said the Moyale Raha bus left Mandera town for Nairobi and on reaching Sarman area, about 11 attackers riding on three motorcycles, waved the driver to stop only to open fire.
Five other passengers were injured and rushed to hospital while the rest fled to the bush in fear and were later evacuated by security agencies.
He hailed the security officers who quickly responded to the passengers’ distress call, saying that were it not for their timely response, there would have been more casualties.
Mr Ndalana wondered why there was no police escort when the attack happened yet there were officers accompanying it when leaving Mandera town.
The commissioner further directed NTSA and the National Police Service to ensure that the order is implemented to the letter to avert further loss of lives.
He also assured residents of the government’s commitment to rooting out terrorist networks in the region.
He revealed that more contingents of security officers have been deployed all over terror hotspots to combat the attackers.