Tears flow freely as family, friends identify Mandera attack victims

A member of the Kenya Red Cross helps a relative of Mandera attack victim at the Chiromo funeral parlour on 7/10/2016. Six people lost their lives in the attack. (PHOTO: BEVERLYNE MUSILI/STANDARD)

A dark cloud engulfed the Chiromo Mortuary during the identification of the six victims of the Thursday morning attack in Mandera.

The Government, through the Disaster Management Unit (DMU) tried to ensure that the identification process and postmortem were completed as quickly as possible.

The bodies were flown to Nairobi on the day of the attack and were yesterday identified by relatives.

The Kenya Red Cross Society was on site to offer pre-identification counselling for the victims’ families and friends. Three of those killed were quarry workers from Mandera while two were working for an Islamic religious organisation. One victim was a barber.

Positively identified

“All of them have been positively identified by their relatives,” said Pius Masai, the deputy director of DMU.

The quarry workers were John Ndegwa, Martin Munene and Duncan Ndegwa and the Islamic Religious Organisation workers were Evans Araka and Lewis Mwalimu. The barber was known as David Chege.

Six survivors of the attack were also brought to Nairobi for medical care and one who was critically injured was admitted at the Kenyatta National Hospital.

“Five others were just traumatised but had been treated and were ready to go home,” Mr Masai said.

Enock Maina, a student at the Multi Media University was among the bereaved. He lost his brother Evans Araka, who was a credit manager at the Islamic NGO.

“I was in school and received a call from my brother’s employers and later my parents informed me that my brother had been killed in Mandera,” Maina said.

If at all security forces did not swing into action fast, more people could have been maimed or killed in the attack, which like others carried out by al Shabaab in the border town, targeted communities from other parts of the country.

The 2.30am attack at Bulla Survey, targeted a gated residential building which mainly housed non-locals, and which is less than a kilometre from the volatile Somalia border town of Belled Xawa.

The tragedy happened even as it emerged that the Government had prior intelligence over the attack.

On Thursday, Government spokesperson Eric Kiraithe disclosed that security agencies had gathered intelligence over the dawn attack.

Kiraithe, however, said the information was not accurate, making the country’s security agencies unable to foil the attack.

That revelation pointed yet again to security lapses in the country that al Shabaab militants have capitalised on to launch their assaults.