Kongowea market up in flames as traders count losses

A mysterious fire razed down part of the Kongowea Market- one of the biggest markets in East Africa in the wee hours of Sunday.

Eye witnesses told The Standard that the fire completely destroyed the second-hand section where there are over 100 tailors and several food kiosks.

''It is a very bad start to 2020,'' said Abubakar Nyamawi, a second-hand cloth vendor who lost property worth Sh450, 000.

Nyamawi said that he had restocked his shop in anticipation of the New Year business and had taken loans from several lending institutions.

''I am starring at early year financial defeat. I only managed to salvage a single pair of trousers,'' Nyamawi said.

He chided area leaders for not coming to their aid in time of need. ''We have not seen any leader coming to console us. It is unfair,'' he said.

Mr Hassan Mohamed, who chairs security at the cloths section said that they were alerted by the market security personnel and on arriving, there was little they could do to salvage the situation.

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''We are talking of huge losses here. We ask authorities to immediately launch investigations to ascertain what caused the fire,'' he said.

For Ms Judith Kawira, also a tailor, all her life long savings had gone up in smoke.

''I am still in shock and was unable to attend church today following this fire that has rendered me jobless,'' she said.

Owners of food kiosks, Lucy and Josephine Moraa said that all their dry food stock that consisted of maize, beans, rice, cooking oil and utensils were completely destroyed in the fire.

Property scavengers had a field day as they carted away metallic objects that included frames of sewing machines.

Kongowea market has in the past experienced several cases of fire.

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