“We are getting most of our supplies from Somalia through Mogadishu port at low prices but any time there is an attack the Kenyan government seals the border, blocking our supplies,” said Hussein Omar, a wholesaler in Mandera town.
“The military have moved to the border line, making it quite difficult to get goods into the country,” he said.
Omar said the current peace in Mandera is an advantage as goods can easily get to Mandera from Nairobi when roads are safe.
“We are getting cement, iron sheets and fuel from Nairobi and at least trucks can get into Mandera without disturbances along the roads from the militants,” he said.
Veronicah Wanjiru, a hotelier in the town said the little semblance of security has attracted more people to return to Mandera, boosting businesses.
“Most of my customers are non-locals working here as quarry miners or in the construction sector and as we speak I can’t complain what I am getting as profit,” she said.
Rahma Mahmad, a miraa (khat) seller said her business is doing well since the attackers stopped targeting miraa transporting vehicles.
“Any time a miraa vehicle is attacked we sell nothing or very little is shared amongst us from the only vehicle that makes its way into Mandera safely,” said Mahmad.
A kilogram of miraa is sold at 8 U.S. dollars in Mandera town and Mahmad said in a safe environment, the profits go up.
Mahmad appealed to government to secure the region for business expansion.
Public transportation has also normalized after the spate of attacks, according to Mohamed Shukri, a local bus company manager.
“We are charging 30 dollars to Nairobi and 35 dollars back and we are getting more customers back on road after the attacks,” he said.
At the height of terror attacks, local flight agents lowered air ticket price to 80 dollars but shot it back to 150 dollars from Mandera to Nairobi as the county recorded improved security.
A private school teacher who requested anonymity said with improved security, their school registered higher profits as many students from Somalia and Ethiopia cross to Kenya for education.
“Most of our learners are from Somalia and any time there are attacks on Kenyans, our government threatens to lock students out leading to low turnout,” he said.
“Attacks are not good, they keep away teachers as they are targeted by Al-Shabaab for being non-Muslim and non-local, leading to losses in private schools,” he said.
He added currently school operation has stabilized due to reduced terror incidents in the region. Enditem