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Mandera survivor recounts Al Shabaab ordeal

For a few hours, sorrow was forgotten in Chaka Village, Nyeri, on Wednesday as families and friends received survivors of the Tuesday Al-Shaabab horror in Mandera Town.

According to the survivors, the attack on their residential area was to avenge the death of a 60-year-old woman whose body was found at bus park, a quarry workers’ popular meeting place.

“When our Muslim brothers learnt of the death of the woman, who was found raped, they vowed to avenge, insisting that people from down Kenya were responsible. They were on a revenge mission,” said Mr Samuel Gichaga.

He was one of the 14 workers who cheated death and lived to tell of the ordeal that claimed the lives of 14 of their colleagues.

Mr Gichaga said he hid under the bed with three of his colleagues as gunmen moved from room to room shooting anyone they came across.

LIFTING OF CURFEW

“I heard a blast and rushed out of the room I was sleeping. I moved to the last room and hid under the bed. When one of the gunmen walked into the room, he did not bother using his flashlight to check under the bed,” he said.

One of his cousins, Charles Macharia, was, however, killed while the other, Patrick, is fighting for his life in hospital.

The 24-year-old father of three claimed the lifting of the curfew on Mandera, Wajir, Lamu, Garissa and Tana River counties made it easy for the attackers to stage the attack.

Mr Gichaga, who was had only worked in Mandera for two months, vowed never to return to the northern county, accusing the government of failing to beef up security.

Chaka residents called on the government to create jobs for  youth all over the county to stop them from moving to Mandera.

Mr Gichaga’s mother Mary Muthoni said youth in Nyeri were trooping to Mandera due to unemployment and poor pay at the quarries surrounding the semi-arid village.