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Lamu-Garsen road workers strike citing fear of terrorists.

Chinese construction workers of the H-Young Company which is tarmacking the Lamu-Garsen road have walked off the job because of terrorist attacks.

The walk-off follows last Sunday's terror attack in which at least four al Shabaab militants hurled explosives and torched an excavator and a lorry belonging to the company at Milihoi area at 12.30pm.

The lorry was transporting cement from Mombasa to the construction camp in the area before it was torched.

The drivers of the two vehicles escaped unhurt and hid in nearby bushes where they were later rescued by the Kenya Defence Forces.

Construction workers pledged not to return to work until they are assured of their total security.

They expressed fear that the militants have now begun targeting them to stall the road works. The dilapidated road, where militants can ambush vehicles has been a terror hot-spot.

Speaking on condition of anonymity when they arrived in Lamu town on Thursday, the workers said the attack had traumatised them and they were not sure if it would be safe to return to work.

'We are glad the two drivers escaped unhurt but what happens when they come knocking next time? Maybe we won't be that lucky. The attack means they are targeting us and for some reason, it's obvious they want the works to stall. We won't go back until our security is guaranteed. We don't want to stare death in the face, we still love life,' one worker said.

They called for increased patrols by the KDF to guarantee security on the road.

Lamu county commissioner Irungu Macharia confirmed that the workers had abandoned their work after the Sunday attack.

He said his office plans will meet the management of the H-Young company and take necessary measures enabling works to resume as soon as possible.

Macharia said the national government is committed to ensuring the security of citizens in Lamu county and their property.

'The workers said they feared for their lives. I assure all that there is no cause for alarm and security is guaranteed. We are meeting with company management to sort out a few issues so that works can resume soonest,' Macharia said.

He said members of the public need to cooperate with security agencies. He urged residents to remain vigilant and report suspicious persons or happenings that could pose a danger to security in the region requiring prompt action by security forces.

'I plead with the public to share information of impending attacks that would help in ending terrorism in this region," Macharia said.

At the LAPSSET project, more than 2,000 workers were sent on compulsory leave by the China Communication Construction Company (CCCC) shortly after the terror attack on the Manda-Magogoni naval and US military bases by al Shabaab militants on January 7 this year. Three Americans were killed.

Works at the port resumed several weeks ago.

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Publication:The Star (Nairobi, Kenya)
Date:Feb 13, 2020
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