Non-locals living in Mandera will not be allowed to travel by bus until the end of the Ramadhan period due to security threats posed by Al-Shabaab militants, the county security committee has said. Acting Mandera East Deputy County Commissioner Yonah Nyawir said this was a “short-term” move aimed at reducing tension and allow for the reorganisation of security operations.
“We are not really [barring] people from traveling from Mandera or Nairobi but we are saying they should use alternative means,” said Mr Nyawir. He said the decision was taken due to the security situation in Mandera after the loss of five police officers on June 20 as they were escorting a bus in Kotulo. Mr Nyawir said although the decision was not popular with many travellers, those wishing to travel will have to abide by it until the situation improves.
“Those wanting to travel can use [aircraft] or pick-ups plying the Mandera-Takaba-Moyale-Marsabit route until the situation returns to normal after Ramadan,” he said. Mr Nyawir dismissed claims that security escorts had been withdrawn, stating that other security agencies (besides police) have been incorporated. Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a bus company manager told the Nation that the Mandera County police commander had called them for a meeting on Monday and directed all bus companies in Mandera not to allow non-Somalis on board.