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Leaders ask Nkaissery to lift dusk-to-dawn Mandera curfew

By Allan Mungai | Published Mon, November 14th 2016 at 00:00, Updated November 13th 2016 at 23:53 GMT +3
Mandera South MP Adan Huka (right) Mandera Governor Ali Roba, Mandera West Mp‎ Mohamud Mohammed, Mohammed Haji (Banisa) and Aden Mohamed Noor (Mandera North) ‎pray before starting a meeting at Shimbir Fatuma Trading Center in Mandera South. The leaders collectively called for a review of the 12 hour blanket curfew imposed by the Interior ministry. (PHOTO: ALLAN MUNGAI/ STANDARD)

Mandera County leaders want the Interior ministry to end the 12-hour curfew put in force on October 25.

The curfew followed an attack at a lodge in Mandera Town. The dusk-to-dawn curfew has been criticised by residents who say it affects their businesses and religion.

Elected officials now want Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery to review the two-month curfew.

Governor Ali Roba said while the curfew was a deterrent to would-be terrorists, it inconvenienced businesses and worshippers.

"Businesses have to close as early as 4pm to beat the curfew hours, which is extremely detrimental to the socio-economic well being of the population," Mr Roba said.

Residents also said the curfew blocked them from attending evening and early morning prayers, which fall within the prohibited hours.

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The governor, however, acknowledged that combating the insecurity threat in the region called for extraordinary measures.

"In light of the situation in Mandera, if the curfew is going to contribute to overall security then it is very important," he said.

Mr Roba was speaking at the Mandera Bus Park accompanied by County Commissioner Fredrick Shisia, parliamentarians Mohamud Mohammed (Mandera West), Mohammed Haji (Banisa), Aden Mohamed Noor (Mandera North) and Mohamed Adan Huka (Mandera South) over the weekend.

He warned the county was under the threat of isolation in terms of development.

"They (Al Shabaab) have imposed sanctions on the economy of Mandera and grounded the health and education sectors by targeting doctors and teachers," he said.

Since 2014, more than 100 people have lost their lives in separate terror attacks targeting non-locals. Last month alone, 18 people died in two incidents.

Mr Shisia said the curfew would end once the Government was assured the security situation in the frontier county had improved.

"We would not have had a curfew in place if we had decided as the people of Mandera that we want to maintain security," Shisia said.

He said the county faced threats from outsiders from Somalia and the local community.

According to Shisia, youths aged between 18 and 35 are the target of Al Shabaab recruiters and a number of them have been radicalised.

He faulted the locals for trading accusations with the police, saying the blame game emboldened the attackers.

His comments come amid reports that the body of a 28-year-old man in handcuffs was discovered in River Daua.

"When there is insecurity, it is not good to sit and trade accusations. Let us discuss ways of improving the situation. Where mistakes have been done, we ask for time to take action," Shisia said.

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