• Five police officers from the Border Patrol Unit were last month killed in two separate incidences in an IED attack
• So bad is the situation that police vehicles and those belonging to UNHCR have been avoiding the route and instead use the longer but tarmacked Modogashe-Garissa road
Dadaab residents are calling on the national government to fast track the tarmacking of the 160km Garissa-Liboi road.
They say this will improve security, mobility and contribute to the urbanisation of the region.
Last month, five police officers from the Border Patrol Unit were killed in two separate incidents at Hagarbur area along the Garissa-Dadaab road when an improvised explosive device blew up their vehicles.
The officers were headed to Garissa from Dadaab only to be hit by the explosives that had been planted on the roadside.
In both incidents the perpetrators seemed to target police cars plying the busy route, which is also used by UNHCR vehicles operating in Dadaab.
So bad is the situation that police and UNHCR vehicles have been avoiding the route, instead using the longer Modogashe-Garissa road, which is tarmacked.
Making his submissions in Dadaab town during a public participation forum on the upgrading of Dadaab town to a municipality, Dadaab MCA Mohamed Abdi Farah said al Shabaab elements were taking advantage of the poor roads to attack travellers, jeopardizing the economy of the region.
“We are calling on all the international agencies based in Dadaab to work together and pool funding to tarmac the road as a reward to the community, which has hosted refugees for over 30 years. One kilometer is only Sh40 million. We can manage to mobilize that,” Farah said.
Farah welcomed the move to upgrade Dadaab into a municipality, saying it will allow the town to meet the required criteria to secure its share of the $50 million of Kenya Urban Support Programme II money from the World Bank.
“But as long as this road remains in this state, then we will continue witnessing such criminal acts from this militia, and we don’t want to continue losing more lives especially when we all know there is a solution,” he said.
Dadaab deputy county commissioner Christophas Siele endorsed the move by the county government to upgrade Dadaab, saying in 10-15 years, the town will become a major player in business along the Kenya-Somalia highway.
“Somalia has applied to join the East Africa Community and when that application is ratified, business between Somalia and the rest of EAC members will pass through Dadaab,”he said.
He also called on the county government to fast track the issuance of allotment letters after completion of physical planning, to allow individuals get value for their parcels of land to spur heavy private investment in the town.
County Lands and Urban Development executive Mohamed Hussein and the Committee on Lands, Physical Planning and Urban Development termed the upgrading of Dadaab into a municipality as a "milestone and historic event", which will enable the town to improve its roads, ensure proper waste management, street lighting, fire fighting and other services.
“This upgrading of Dadaab is also in line with the manifesto and plans of Governor Nathif Jama, who has expressed the importance of upgrading all the subcounty headquarters into municipalities to reduce the pressure on Garissa Municipality due to rural-urban migration,” he said.
He added that the upgrading of Dadaab was also inline with the Refugee Act, which calls for refugee and host community integration.
Others present included Mohamed Bu'ul, director Urban Planning, and representatives from various organisations based in Dadaab.