Bad security blamed for sand harvesting

imageLack of commitment by the national government to provide security has been attributed to illegal sand harvesting in Makueni.

Makueni Sand Authority MD Chrisphus Ileli yesterday said a recent attack on county askaris saw two vehicles burned. The incident was preceded by threats on his mobile phone by a senior national government administrator. He demanded that Ileli releases a truck impounded by county askaris on the Makueni River bed.

“This fight is not a small fight, especially when a government officer calls and demands you release a lorry impounded for harvesting sand illegally,” he said.

During the attack, about 50 youth attacked county government officers on patrol and in the company of two armed police. They beat them up before setting the two vehicles on fire. The askaris escaped after the askaris were overpowered, Ileli said.

“We have encountered a lot of problems in efforts to enforce the ban on sand harvesting in our rivers. There is very little cooperation from security officers, that is why they didn’t act when my officers were attacked,” he said.

Ileli said due to the little support from the national government, the county has resorted to train its own officers to enforce the ban on sand harvesting. “Our own security team will man our rivers with hounds,” he said.

Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana has accused the national government of doing little to help his government regulate sand harvesting. He said he was cautioned in a security meeting at the cCounty headquarters on the ban. “I was told to be careful on regulations as there are powerful cartels behind sand harvesting,” Kibwana said.

via star Kenya

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