Quarry workers abandon jobs after recent deaths of colleagues
Quarry workers who survived the terror attack in Mandera that left four dead and two others injured earlier this month arrived in Nyeri yesterday.
It was the first time at home in years for some of the 19 men who arrived looking shabby and shaken by their experience.
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They were working at the quarry in El Wak constituency with 300 others.
But they are just a few of hundreds of Nyeri residents who leave the safety of their homes in search of an income in the quarries of North Eastern region, only to return with tales of death.
The group left Mandera after the intervention of area MP Ngunjiri Wambugu, who facilitated their travel.
At least 100 people from the county have been killed in separate attacks on quarries in Mandera County, where non-locals are targeted.
The MP yesterday described the attacks as xenophobic.
“It is becoming clear that they are only targeting the people who are not from there. If they want us to stop our people from going to Mandera they should tell us. It can’t be that whenever there is a terror attack the only people who are affected are the people who are not natives. Are the terrorists selective? There is something going on that we need to be told,” said Mr Ngunjiri.
Athumani Ismail, one of the quarry workers who returned yesterday, defended the decision of workers opting to risk their lives at the quarries.
“Everybody is blaming us and calling us greedy because we are told not to go back to Mandera but we do. There are no jobs here so we have to go because we are only looking for an income,” said Mr Ismail, who has been in Mandera since 2012.
He also said quarry owners took advantage of the attacks to disappear with their accumulated wages.
“We had been moved from other areas that were insecure and assured that we would be safer in Shimbir Fatuma. These attacks are a result of business rivalry and hatred of people from other communities,” Ismail said.