Emotions high in Nyeri as relatives view bodies of Mandera attack victims

Relatives react after viewing the bodies of six men from Nyeri killed last week when Al Shabaab gunmen attacked a guest house in Mandera with grenades. [Picture: Kibata Kihu]

Emotions ran high as bodies of six victims killed during the Mandera terror attack arrived on Saturday night.

A sombre mood engulfed the Nyeri Provincial General Hospital mortuary as relatives subdued by grief sobbed inconsolably while some collapsed after viewing the bodies.

The cortege arrived in Nyeri some minutes past 10pm after encountering problems along the way. One of the vehicles in the convoy had a puncture near Karatina.

Amos Kahuha, a relative of one of the slain six who escorted the bodies from City Mortuary in Nairobi, warned friends and relatives gathered that the bodies had been “reconstructed” due to the force of the blast when Al Shabaab militants attacked a guest house in Mandera with grenades on October 25.

Terrorist attack

The recent attacks brought to 41 the number of people from Nyeri killed in separate terrorist attacks in Mandera County where a number of youths work in quarries.

David Muriithi, one of the quarry workers who survived the attack but lost his brother, James Maina, said he would not return to Mandera.

Kenya Red Cross and Sonko rescue team had a difficult time controlling the crowd of people that had gathered at the mortuary to receive the bodies.

The close to 100 friends and relatives pleaded with residents of Mandera to work with security forces to provide information to foil further attacks even as Tetu MP Ndung’u Gethenji suggested that locals may have had a hand in the attack.

Local elements

They criticised the Government for not doing enough to protect their relatives who were working in Mandera. They, however, thanked the Government for providing the six coffins.

Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko, through his Sonko Rescue Team, helped ferry the bodies to Nyeri as the families worked on funeral preparations.

Mr Gethenji, who spoke shortly before the arrival of the bodies, said there were reports that some local elements aided the terror attacks in Mandera.

Gethenji, who is also the chairman of the National Assembly Defence Committee, supported the curfew imposed by security officials after the attack and called on the leadership and residents of Mandera to be more accommodating to other people.

“It cannot be that whenever there is an incident in Mandera, it is only people from Nyeri that are brought to be buried. Anyone is free to work where they choose across the country,” Mr Gethenji said.

The legislator said the Government would look into claims that some people were using outsiders as soft targets for political expediency.

Terrorists attacked the occupants of Bashaare lodging in Mandera using grenades and IEDs at around 3:30am.