Residents of Beled-Hawo town have burnt down bags of Khat transported from Mandera in the last three days in a protest against Kenya’s allegedly encroachment in Somalia’s territory.
The residents and the local administration have accused the government of Kenya of constructing the security wall inside Somalia.
Beled-Hawo district commissioner, Yussuf Mohamud who spoke at the town’s square during protest announced that they officially closed the town’s border with Mandera.
“Initially Kenyan authorities closed their border with Beled-Hawo. We have been trying to collaborate with them but there is no outcome, We therefore decided to close the border from our side,” Osman said while addressing the public.
Ali Hassan Deer, head of Security agency in the district said the administration in collaboration with the local residents would continue burning goods smuggled from Mandera.
“We want to assure to that people in Beled-Hawo town that we can survive without Mandera. The operation against the goods from Mandera will be continuous,” said Deer.
25 bags of khat torched
The officer warned the traders in Beled-Hawo to import goods from Mandera town which is two kilometers on the other side of Kenya’s border with Somalia.
“We don’t want our traders to incur losses, we urge them not to spend their money on commodities from Mandera,” he said, ” Today (Monday) alone we burnt 25 bags of miraa (Khat) smuggled into the town by some individuals.”
Mohamed Omar Hanshi, one of khat traders confirmed that some of his goods worth Ksh 40,000 ($390)was destroyed in the demonstrations.
” I counted loss worth Ksh 40,000 after two bags of khat that I import from Mandera, were publicly torched by Irate protestors,” he lamented, ” Later on, I ran for my life, We don’t know how long will these demonstrations last.”
Khasim Okash, another trader blamed the local leaders for laxity as demonstrators destroyed properties of immense value.
“It is not the traders who are building security alongside the border, Why do we lose our money and properties in front our leaders. The leaders watch while these youths burn properties of someone,” said Okash.
Mandera county commissioners, Frederick Sishia had warned the residents of Mandera town against crossing the border into Somalia.
” We urge people of Mandera including traders any other person not go to Beled-Hawo town until further notice, We don’t want our people to be harmed in Beled-Hawo town,” said Shisia who spoke to local radio in Mandera.
Border closed to keep of Al-shabab
“We closed the border with Beled-Hawo town over issues related to the security of Mandera, We want to keep eye on the boundary to avert Al-shabab attacks,” the commissioner explained.
Adan Moalim Abdullahi, a Member of County Assembly representing township which is on Mandera’s border with Beled-Hawo town condemned the move by the leaders from both towns to close the borderline.
“People from both towns will suffer because of what these leaders are doing. The business has come to standstill since Friday, These residents have suffered a lot due to the droughts, now [the situation is worse]