Travellers want terror hotspots on Lamu-Garsen road built first
Commuters plying the Lamu-Garsen route currently under construction want the contractor to prioritise terror hotspots on the road. Speaking to Shipping, drivers, passengers and pedestrians complained that the contractor is working only on the safer parts of the road and is taking too long to fix areas vulnerable to terrorists.The Sh10.8 billion Lamu-Garsen road, which is being constructed by the H-Young Company, is 20 percent complete.The 135Km Lamu-Garsen stretch road is a key connection of Lamu to the rest of the coastal region and other parts of Kenya.Drivers, passengers and pedestrians who use the road daily want the contractor to work on completing bits of the road in terror hotspots like Milihoi, Mambo Sasa, Nyongoro and Lango la Simba.For years, these areas have become the hideouts for the Al shabaab militants who have launched several attacks on security and civilian vehicles plying the road.The hotspots are characterised by poor road network that makes it impossible for drivers to speed past in case of such incidents.Between 2016 and 2018, scores of security officers and civilians have died at the hands of Al-Shabaab in those terror hotspot areas along the Lamu-Garsen route.
Peter Kariuki, a driver who plies the road daily, says the contractor should build terror-prone parts of the road first to immediately address insecurity.“We are told the contractor has been provided with everything including enough security to ensure they comfortably construct the road. We want the contractor to start working on the hotspot areas first,” Mr Kariuki said.“That should be his first priority since those are the areas that make travelling on this road a nightmare. The areas he is working on like Gamba and some parts of Witu don’t pose any threat. We want the road at all the hotspots such as Milihoi, Lango la Simba, Mambo Sasa, Nyongoro be built.”The commuters say the current state of the road makes it easy for Al-Shabaab to lay ambush on vehicles plying the road.Said Swaleh, another regular traveller on the road, said numerous security camps have been established in the terror spots along the road and that should provide an assurance for the contractor to consider their plea.“The government has already established security camps in those terror hotspot areas. I don’t see the reason as to why the contractor is scared to venture into the areas despite the security assurance,” he said.