Isiolo North MP Hassan Odha wants the government not to close down a mining site at Kom Durte in Isiolo where a security operation is ongoing following declaration of the area as disturbed due to spate of recent attacks.
Closing down the mine, the lawmaker said, would render over 3000 peasants jobless and have an adverse effect on the local economy and food security. He pleaded with President Uhuru Kenyatta to intervene.
Interior CS Fred Matiang’i on Monday said there was a connection between proliferation of illegal firearms in Marsabit and mining activities in Isiolo especially at Kom, which he said were being used to fund conflicts in the neighbouring county.
But MP Odha said the thousands of miners were only eking out a living from what he termed as informal activity and had no links with insecurity menace in Marsabit.
“We welcome the declaration of Kom as an operation area as long as the intention is to flush out criminals from neighbouring counties who have been terrorising, maiming and killing our people and herders,” he said.
Mr Odha said the miners should instead be protected through establishment of a General Service Unit (GSU) camp in the area.
“While carrying out the operation, the government should flush out criminals from the mining site if any and provide security to the locals who are earning their daily income from the mining activity,” the MP said.
Speaking to Nation, the legislator said as leaders, they were supporting the fight against drug trafficking and had in the past personally appealed to the Interior Ministry to set up special units in Yamicha to seal the drug entry route.
He hailed the government for reinstating and recent arming of National Police Reservists in Isiolo Central and Merti areas and appealed for more reservists to be armed to adequately deal with insecurity and boost police security efforts.
The county government should after the August 9 elections expedite registration of the community land and formalize the mining, he said.