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US doctors flee Kapsowar hospital fearing terror attack

Tuesday January 28 2020
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Elgeyo-Marakwet County Commissioner Ahmed Omar addressing journalists in Iten on January 28, 2020. Nine US doctors based at Kapsowar Mission Hospital in Elgeyo Marakwet County have left the institution following fears of terror attacks. PHOTO | EVANS KIPKURA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By EVANS KIPKURA

Nine foreign doctors from the United States based at Kapsowar Mission Hospital in Elgeyo Marakwet County have left the institution following fears of a terror attack targeting the facility.

The doctors were said to have left early this week after the hospital and the nearby Moi Girls' High School Kapsowar were flagged as possible terrorist attack spots by the county security team.

Speaking to the media in Iten, County Commissioner Dr Ahmed Omar said suspicious people were seen around the hospital last week, forcing them to act.

"Recent suspicious activities around Kapsowar Mission Hospital put us on high alert given the fact that it is the only hospital in the county with foreign medics," said Dr Omar.

SUSPICIOUS PERSONS

According to locals, suspicious people who were neither locals, hospital staff nor patients were seen around the hospital last week. They, however, reportedly left when they realised tension was building around the place.

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Dr Omar said the security team in the county is on high alert in case of any terrorism-related activities in Kapsowar targeting foreign doctors operating at the hospital.

He added that the girls’ school may fall victim in case of such an attempt due to its close proximity to the health facility and its huge population.

According to Dr Omar, recent abduction of foreign doctors by alleged Al-Shabaab assailants in Malindi and Mandera is a cause for worry in the case of the Mission Hospital in Kapsowar.

The administrator, however, said they have held talks with the medics and told them to choose whether to keep serving at the hospital or leave.

SHABAAB ALERT

"Their security and that of the community around the facility is our priority as a county. We can confirm that all the foreign medics serving in the hospital have chosen to leave apart from one who is still liaising with the organisation she works for in the US," said Dr Omar.

The security team and administrators from the county have reportedly visited the two institutions and advised them on basic security measures to put in place in the face of such threats.

According to Dr Omar, neither of the two institutions has installed security cameras or a perimeter wall which, he said, exposes them to security threats from outside.

"We cannot guarantee each staff in the institutions personal security because they also mingle with the locals. We, therefore, advise the managers to ensure they adopt basic security measures," he said.

Our efforts to reach administrators of the two institutions were futile as our calls went unanswered.

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