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Workers flee as gunmen attack construction site in Mandera

Sunday July 21 2019

Kotulo Mandera

Workers at a construction site at Borehole 11 in Mandera South on July 21, 2019 survived a shooting incident by four armed men who raided their site. The workers are building a hospital at the centre along the Elwak-Kutulo-Wajir road. GOOGLE MAPS 

MANASE OTSIALO
By MANASE OTSIALO
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Workers at a construction site at Borehole 11 in Mandera South have survived a shooting incident by four armed men who raided their site.

A resident, speaking to the Nation on Sunday morning on condition of anonymity, said the four attackers arrived at the site armed with what looked like AK-47 rifles and hurriedly starting shooting.

The workers scampered for safety when the shooting started.

“They were four men all armed with their faces covered. They seemed to be in a hurry and wanted the site engineer who was hiding,” said the resident.

NO MUCH INFORMATION

While confirming the 8am incident, Mandera County Police Commander Jeremiah Kosiom said he was aware of the incident but he did have much information.

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“Something happened at a construction site in Mandera South but I am yet to get much information because our officers are on the ground gathering details,” he said.

The workers are building a hospital at the centre along the Elwak-Kutulo-Wajir road which is notorious for attacks.

SITE ENGINEER

Our source said the attackers targeted non-Somali workers at the site and were specific on whom exactly they wanted.

“They asked for the engineer in-charge of the project who is a non-local and also wanted the other non-local workers who had taken off,” the source said.

He said the attackers asked for the keys of a vehicle that was at site but they left after being informed that the driver had left with the keys to the shopping centre.

BUSINESS RIVALRY

He said it was unclear whether the attackers were Al-Shabaab militants or some militia hired by a local over business interests.

“I cannot tell whether the incident is due to contract issues among local business-men or by Al-Shabaab,” he said.

Borehole 11 is located eight kilometres from Elwak town and another 20 kilometres from El-Rhamu along the Kenya-Somalia border.

The only Administration Police camp providing security at the centre was closed down in 2014 by national government.

Non-local teachers at both Borehole 11 primary and secondary schools were transferred to safer areas due insecurity.