Passengers stranded in Mandera were finally able to make their travel plans after Mandera bus services were resumed. The bus services had been suspended due insecurity in the area. Nonetheless, non-locals will not be permitted to board the buses until security in Mandera County gets better.
A security source said that police officers from Mandera Town will accompany a group of eight buses to Kotulo, more than 250 kilometers away, after their Elwak counterparts pulled out their services .Mandera Bus Association Chairman Mohamed Bardad said they were still to concur with security officers on several problems.
“We are yet to concur on a lot of problems to permit usual operation of the buses. The government is not yet ready to offer armed security escort,” Mr Bardad said.
According to Mr Bardad, Mandera County Commissioner Fredrick Shisia simply settled to permit police escort on Saturday.”We are only having police escort today (Saturday) to let marooned passengers travel out of Mandera, but onwards there will be no police escorts,” he said.
Mr. Bardad said bus owners and the government decided on permitting Mandera inhabitants to use the buses.”Non-locals will not be permitted in the buses. They can use the Mandera-Moyale-Isiolo route until security improves,” he added.County Commissioner Shisia could not be contacted for remark but he had said on Tuesday that the suspension of bus services will stay in anticipation of new customized police vehicles are provided.
“We shall only recommence accompanying buses once we get a substitute of two burned and old police vehicles,” Mr Shisia said. On Monday, suspected Al-Shabaab militants attacked police officers escorting a bus in Dabacity, blazing two vehicles. Twelve police officers from Elwak station survived the attack.
Travelers who have been marooned in Mandera Town since Monday welcomed the recommencement of services with varied reactions. Mr. Mohamed Amin, a bus driver, said the government must come up with an enduring solution to security problems. “We are always having the same difficulty all the time but we don’t see the government reacting in the best way,” he said.