Government lifts a ban on quarrying in Mandera

The government has lifted a ban on quarrying activities in Mandera but restricted it to day time and warned those found working at night that they will be prosecuted.

Last December, the government sent quarry workers to an early Christmas, citing security reasons, arguing the miners had become a soft target for the al Shabaab.

Mandera East OCPD, Ezekiel Sing’oe said quarrying will only be allowed between 8a.m and 5p.m.

Sing’oe asked mine owners to submit identities of their workers to the government so as to account for them.

He said working or spending nights at the quarries was putting the workers at risk but added that the government has put in place stringent security measures including allowing quarrying only at daytime to avoid loss of lives.

Speaking at the same meeting, Mandera Deputy County Commissioner, Elvis Korir asked the quarry owners to be patriotic enough and not employ anybody without an identification card.

“We want to know who is who in the quarries and anybody without identification is capable of doing anything, including causing harm to his colleagues and disappearing without trace”, said Korir.

He said obtaining quarrying licenses is the only better option to reduce conflicts among quarry owners, which escalates to clan clashes in Mandera.

Cases of quarry miners being recruited into Al-Shabaab terror cells based in Somalia, with agents in Kenya, have been reported in the area.

Mandera County Environment Director, Josiah Nyandoro advised the quarry owners to seek licenses from the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) for any proposed quarry.

“Any person who starts a project without a license is liable to a fine not less than Shs. 2m or an imprisonment for a term not less than 24 years imprisonment as stipulated in the Environmental Management and Coordination Act of 2015,” he said.

By Dickson Githaiga

Source: Kenya News Agency