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Tarmacking of Garsen-Lamu road to reduce terror attacks

Tuesday August 21 2018

 Garsen-Witu-Lamu Road

President Uhuru Kenyatta launches the building of Garsen-Witu-Lamu road in March 2017. Once the road is fully tarmacked, it is expected to reduce frequent terror attacks and ease movement. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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The government is confident the tarmacking of Garsen-Lamu road will minimise Al-Shabaab terror attacks in Nyongoro and Lango la Simba where the raids have been rampant.

Tana River County Commissioner Oning'oi Olesosio said the tarmacking of the Minjila section of the road will boost local economy and help address insecurity.

"Over time we have had major attacks on either Lango la simba or Nyongoro which have cost lives, of both security officers and commuters. With this road done, all that drama will be solved," Mr Olesosio said Monday.

He said the attackers have always found it easy to attack officers and even commuters due to the poor condition of the road which forces vehicles to slow down.


The stretch between Lango la Simba and Nyongoro is estimated to be less than seven kilometres but the terrain has been poor, slowing down vehicles which move at a speed of 40Kmh.


Mr Olesosio said with the road upgraded to bitumen level, vehicles will move at a speed of up to 120kmh, thus minimising chances of attacks.

"It is easy to aim and shoot at tyres of a vehicle going at a slow speed and that is what the attackers have been doing, taking advantage of the road’s terrain, but with a speed of 120kmh, it will need a skilled sniper to shoot wheels of such a vehicle," he said.


He said the attacks had further been made impossible by the clearing of bushes by more than 50m from the roadsides.

The administrator said clearing of bushes has increased visibility on the road, making it difficult for the attackers to hide and execute attacks.

"I can tell you how fast and how accurate an AK47 can work and how a G3 works. With their type of ammunition I can tell you with the calculations made on that road construction, however experienced they may be, their arms cannot execute an attack,” he said.

The commissioner further said the new road will bring to an end explosive attacks on vehicles, especially on security convoys.

He said the rough terrain made it difficult to trace the presence of an IED planted on the road as the attackers would dig holes on the roads at night and then plant explosives when they knew security officers on patrol were about to pass.

"Once the road is upgraded, then it will be easy to spot a place dug even days earlier and counter the attack before it happens,” he said.]


He said patrols along the road will not stop and that the government will establish a General Service Unit camp along the route to enhance security and make the road safe for tourists.

He also said police reservists will be deployed to villages along the road as the government considers hiring services of locals to help with providing intelligence on daily basis.

"If we must realise total security in both Lamu and Tana River counties, then we have to pull some few locals on board without the knowledge of their people and help us on the intelligence part,” he said.


But Mr Olesosio said building of the road had slowed down due to the floods, but is to now be hastened.

During a visit to Lamu, Tana River and Kilifi counties recently, President Kenyatta ordered the contractor of the Sh10.4 billion Lamu-Garsen road to hasten the work.

The 135-kilometre road tender was awarded to H-Young Company towards the end of 2016.

President Kenyatta launched the building of the road on March 9, 2017.

The contractor has attributed the slow progress to insecurity and heavy rains.

Apart from the clearing of bushes, the tarmacking is yet to start.