NAIROBI: Each of the close to 4,000 miners working at various quarries in Mandera County earned Sh25,000 weekly.
A manager, Joseph Arodi, said the work is lucrative and most of those working there are non-Somalis.
"Each of us made almost Sh100,000 a month. We have given our employers conditions to be met before we return," Mr Arodi said at the City Mortuary where he joined other friends and relatives in identifying the bodies of the 36 victims.
He said despite the poor working conditions and distance to Mandera, they had to go there to make a living.
Arodi said he was lucky to have survived the attack because he had left the day before it happened.
A family of three is among those killed in the attack. Wellington Lukose, 29, his 52-year-old brother David Imbwana, and his son Joseph Mahanji, 20, were all killed in the ambush.
Imbwana's sister, Hellen Akani, said the deceased had been poached from a quarry in Ongata Rongai by a businessman who told him there was lucrative business in Mandera.
"It is true they earned better in Mandera because after they went there our lives improved but they are now dead. They died while trying to ensure we lived well," said Ms Akani.
She said Imbwana and Lukose went there three years ago, Mahanji joined them one year later.
Families wailed at the City Mortuary after identifying the bodies ahead of today's planned postmortem. They said they had wounds to the head, chest and legs.
Cousins Silas Mugaa, 38, and 28-year-old Daniel Mwenda, had also gone to Mandera. Their sisters Jennifer Njoki and Everlyne Kwambai said they had been there for three years. Chief Government Pathologist Johansen Oduor said the postmortems will take about three days.