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Fishermen flee Kismayu to Kenya in fear of Jubaland poll chaos

By Philip Mwakio | August 20th 2019
International workers Transport Federation Mombasa Port Ship inspector, Betty Makena (left) comforts Seafarers in Mombasa. The seafarers who are Tanzania citizens have escaped from Kismayu in Somalia. Omondi Onyango/Standard

Dozens of fishermen from Kenya and Tanzania are trapped Kismayu in fear of possible electoral violence in Somalia's Jubaland region.

Three Tanzanian fishermen who worked aboard an Omani flagged fishing vessel have arrived in Mombasa after fleeing the coastal city, once controlled by Al Shabaab before it was evicted in 2012.

Maritime sources indicate dozens others are fleeing towards Kenya just before the weekend polls in which incumbent Mohamed Islam alias Madobe is facing close to eight other candidates.

The three who spoke at the Missions to Seafarers Centre, Mombasa said that they fled after it became apparent that there was tension ahead of Jubaland elections due next month.

They have left behind 11 other fellow crewmen who include Kenyans and Tanzanians.

''We have not been paid for more than six months and our employer has been toying around with our safety. We were ejected from our hotel and taken to a residential house within the Port City of Kismayu. We felt very unsafe and decided to flee,'' Mikidadi George Chausi, a resident of Muheza in Tanga, Tanzania said.

The trio managed to buy their own air tickets and took a flight from Kismayu to Wilson Airport, Nairobi after paying $220 each for a one-way trip onboard a Blue Sky Air aircraft from where they boarded a bus to Mombasa.

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