Posted Thursday, October 27 2011 at 22:00
- Communities living along the border are feeling pinch of the heightened fight that is aimed at flushing out the Al-Shabaab
Despite cheering the campaign by the Kenya defence forces and their allies who are fighting the Al-Shabaab insurgents in Somalia, communities living along the border are having a nightmare.
They are feeling the pinch of the heightened war in which the armed forces are seeking to flush out the terrorist group.
They are having sleepless nights as the war rages. They are having sleepless nights as the war rages.
Prices of most foodstuff and other commodities have significantly gone up.
Supplies such as sugar, rice, cooking fat and powdered milk that have been finding their way into Kenya through Kismayu, which is a free port.
They come from the Middle East as well as Asia and Europe and they are usually sold cheaply.
Even electronic goods and vehicles are normally cheaply available in border towns like Liboi in Garissa, Elwak in Mandera and Hulugho in Ijara district.
Some of these goods are eventually smuggled into towns like Garissa, Mwingi, Thika and even Eastleigh and other areas in Nairobi.
But since the border was closed, transporters can no longer risk their vehicles on the cutline roads used to ferry such goods.
The roads are now being patrolled by security forces to curb entry of Al-Shabaab insurgents into the country.
Nonetheless, some leaders in North Eastern Province are asking the government not to interfere with operations at Kismayu port once they take it over from the Al-Shabaab.
Before the military operation started two weeks ago, a kilogramme of sugar used to cost between Sh60 and Sh70 in the border towns. Today the same kilogramme costs more than Sh250.
Poor roads network
“I used to buy a bag of 50- kilogrammes of sugar at Sh3,850 but I am now shocked because those who have old stocks left are selling the same amount to us at Sh12,000,” said Mr Dubow Abdi, a trader at Liboi trading centre.
He does not expect the old stocks to last for long. “Soon we shall have no sugar left in our stocks,” the trader said in an interview at his shop.