Non-local quarry workers in Mandera county are protesting against a directive by the Kenyan government to shut mines near Kenya’s border with Somalia.
The closure of the mines came after Al-Shabab fighters staged several attacks against stone mining sites in Mandera County.
In recent years hundreds of locals and non-locals have been workers in the lucrative stone mining in the outskirt of Mandera town.
The workers vowed to keep on with the protest till their voices are heard, on Monday walked all the way from the quarry sites to the office of Mandera County Commissioner.
The protesters were chanting slogans and words against Kenya’s central government.
Mr. Kutswa Olaka, Mandera County Commissioner has turned down their requests to see him.
Henry Ogoro, the chairperson of the non-local miners has expressed concern over the move to close down the site saying quarry sites are lifelines for hundreds of families in Mandera and other parts of the country.
“The national government is denying us our rights to earn living for our families and ourselves. We urge the government to reopen the quarries,” Ongoro said, adding ” This is now the third week since quarries were closed yet we have no other means to earn an income.”
The move comes barely two weeks after Al-Shabab fighters attacked Shimbir Fatuma Village which lies 65km away Mandera town.
The incident claimed lives of four quarry workers.
Al-Shabab has been carrying out attacks in Kenya since 2011 when the East African nation sent troops to fight Al-Shabab inside Somalia.