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Kenya slams attack on Chinese rail workers

Updated: 2016-08-05 21:14
By Lucie Morangi (chinadaily.com.cn)

The Kenyan government has strongly condemned the recent attack on Chinese workers of China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) by locals and warned that the full force of the law will be used against the perpetrators.

In a statement issued to media houses, James Macharia, the cabinet secretary in the ministry of transport, infrastructure, housing and urban development, called the forceful entry into the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) construction camp by more than 200 armed youths as barbaric and criminal. Fourteen foreign workers were wounded in the incident.

The incident came a fortnight after the Moran youths held demonstrations against the Chinese company accusing the firm of denying them jobs.

The Chinese camp is located at the Duka Moja trading Center on the Narok-Mai-Mahiu road, about 141.3 kilometers from Nairobi. Police had to violently disperse the attackers by shooting in the air.

CRBC, the company behind the construction of Mombasa-Nairobi rail, is currently undertaking survey of the Nairobi-Naivasha route after winning the contract last year. The route will pass through Kajiado, Nakuru and Narok counties.

While noting that the government was keen on ensuring that 40 percent of local contracts are awarded to area residents, it said opportunities such as training and skills transfer, supply of goods and services and work contracts among others will also be available.

So far the first phase has provided employment for well over 30,000 locals, presented business opportunities valued over $500 million, trained over 15,000 Kenyans as engineers, masons, mechanics, electricians among others.

The railway infrastructure is a mega flagship Vision 2030 project that will connect the port of Mombasa to hinterland countries such as Uganda and Rwanda along the northern corridor. It is expected to lower transportation costs, improve and create efficiency for freight and passenger services.

The government is at an advanced stage of securing a loan from China Export-Import (EXIM) bank for the construction of Phase two, said the minister.

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