Robert Manyara LODWAR (Xinhua) -- When Emmanuel Ekeno
sold part of his herd to engage in public transport business, popularly known as
matatu, he was hoping for a bright future.
He bought a
lorry to transport goods between Kapedo and Marigat towns that are 180
kilometers apart in the arid northwestern Kenyan counties of Turkana and Baringo
“I used to
get good money from the transport business. I could make one trip per day to
deliver goods from Marigat but I’m no longer in the business,” Ekeno said,
recalling the good old days before increasing insecurity on the road forced him
out of the business.
lost my life one day. The bandits sprayed the lorry with bullets forcing my
driver to stop and we lost everything to the armed bandits,” Ekeno recalled the
why he ventured in the transport business despite advice from his closest
relative that the business was risky due to banditry crime.
“I wish I
could have listened to my cousin’s advice. I would not lose my investment,” said
Ekeno who is among several people who have pulled out of the transport business.
Emulimuli, a father of five, is the latest person to withdraw the public
transport service on the route after several bandit attacks.
“I quit the
business and I don’t dream of going back to it. It is like putting your life on
the crossfire. It is tormenting and many people have lost their lives along the
route,” Emulimuli spoke about his decision to quit the business last year.
have rendered many people out of business and other jobless. Motorists narrated
disturbing stories while encountering with bandits.
Turkana Chamber of Commerce and Industry TCCI, all the 30 public service vehicle
operators have withdrawn their services along Lokori-Lomelo-Kapedo highway,
which has caused a transport crisis.
alone we recorded over 15 incidents of bandits attacks while 10 similar attacks
were reported on the route,” said Peter Ejore, TCCI chairman.
most of our members pulled out of the business after loss of investment and
insecurity on the road. Despite police escort the route is insecure,” said Ejore.
said business opportunities in remote markets in Turkana such as Lokori, Lomelo
and Kapedo have not been tapped due to the transport problem.
has pushed several people out of business. At least 20 people who owned shops in
Lokori, Lomelo and Kapedo areas closed their businesses,” added Ejore.
like a hot spring near Lomelo remain idle as bandits roam the area freely.
been ruined and tourism potential is idle. We don’t know when banditry will end
to pave way for investment,” said Ejore.
education among the tribal youths from the Pokot and Turkana communities and the
high presence of illegal guns have been blamed for the menace.
have to rely on security trucks for transport to access goods from towns in
On Dec. 9, 23
civilian were killed in a road accident when a police truck they were traveling
in veered off the road.
had hiked a lift from Marigat where they had gone to buy food supplies and were
returning back when they were involved in the accident.
administration police truck was loaded with food items and belongings of the
operators stopped the public services on the route civilians hike lift on
government vehicles because of lack of public transport and insecurity,” said
Robinson Ndiwa, a senior police officer in Baringo County.
is common to find that most trading centers run out of stock due to insecurity.
lack stocks in our shops and we replenish when there is security truck go to
Marigat to take officers to their basic requirement,” said Jane Ekiru, who runs
a shop in Kapedo.
County Governor Josephat Nanok, while mourning the civilians urged for a lasting
solution to the banditry menace.
disturbing to lose such big number of Kenyans on the road. The road insecure and
residents scramble to get lifts in government particularly security trucks to
access food in Baringo county,” said Nanok.
have lost their lives while others left with physical wounds to banditry
attacks, though no exact figure has been provided.
Regional Coordinator Wanyama Musiambo said the government is committed to
bringing sanity on the road and give people opportunity to engage in economic
activities such as transport business.
“It is true
there is a problem along the Marigat-Kapedo road but the government is putting
in measures to restore sanity and improve security for residents to tap
investment potentials in the region,” the official said.