Kenyan unions urge non-Muslim workers to leave north after attacks

By REUTERS
December 3, 2014 16:23

NAIROBI - Kenyan trade unions have urged non-Muslim public sector workers including teachers and doctors to leave the country's lawless northern region, site of two deadly attacks by militants in the past two weeks, because of the security risks.

Somali militant Islamist group al Shabaab killed 36 non-Muslim workers on Tuesday at a quarry in northeast Kenya. They also shot dead 28 non-Muslim bus passengers on Nov. 22 while sparing Muslim travelers.

Many of the public sector workers in less prosperous northern Kenya are Christians who moved from the Rift Valley in the west, lured by promises of more work.

"They (the authorities) must guarantee the safety of workers," said Wilson Sossion, secretary-general of the teachers' union and also general secretary of Kenya's Trade Union Congress.

He said the unions' call was addressed to 10,000 teachers and 6,500 other public servants, including doctors and nurses.

The governor of northeast Kenya's Mandera county, Ali Roba, implored the workers to stay put, saying an exodus would only deepen the area's isolation from the rest of the country. As it is, the region struggles to attract qualified workers, he said.


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