Police in Lodwar have arrested four Chinese nationals for allegedly assaulting a roads engineer in Turkana.
The arrest of the four, -Liu Jiang, Wang Kai, Zhao Liangbin and Li Shaoqing comes in the wake of protests by 400 workers employed by the Chinese contractors.
China Railway Engineering Group Company Limited is accused of attacking Engineer Rodgers Imasa who has been inspecting the Loichangamak-Lodwar road currently being constructed by the Chinese firm on Friday last week.
Workers claimed that foreign contractors beat up the engineer at the company’s construction site in Turkana Central Sub County.
On Monday, the workers protested over what they term increasing cases of assault and mistreatment by fellow Chinese workers.
Lodwar Officer Commanding Police Station David Mutengi said that the Chinese nationals went into hiding after committing the alleged offense.
Mr Mutengi said the Chinese nationals were arrested in Turkana South in the wee hours of Tuesday morning as they attempted to leave the county to evade arrest.
“We are probing the matter and we shall charge the suspects with assault and causing bodily harm as soon as we conclude investigations,” Mutengi said, adding that the engineer had already recorded a statement at the station.
Construction workers chairman Wilberforce Dida said workers will down tools until legal action is taken against all the Chinese staff who attacked the engineer.
Mr Dida claimed the group of five Chinese staff currently working on the A1 road wrestled the Kenyan engineer while inspecting the ongoing road construction.
He alleged that several workers have been attacked by the Chinese workers over minor mistakes during construction.
"Many of us are being assaulted every day. The company is not taking workers’ safety measures seriously. We have cases where 15 local workers have been injured while on duty," He claimed.
He added, “Workers who are handling cement don't have gloves and have scars on their fingers beside inhaling challenges.”
Dida claimed that the engineer had questioned the quality of the road when one of the Chinese nationals attempted to bribe him, and when he declined to take the bribe, he was hit by blows and kicks.
During Monday’s protests, workers’ spokesman Joseph Kimtai accused Chinese staffers of perpetuating impunity by attacking workers and assaulting an engineer inspecting the construction on behalf of the state.
“It is unfortunate and disrespectful that someone can attack a government official, who is also the representative in a construction project,” Kimtai said.
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