China Communication Construction Company (CCCC), which is tasked with constructing Lamu Port has suspended work on the Port fearing for their lives.
CCCC sent a memo on Tuesday to its 2,000 workers who are working on the project of the three berths, stating that construction work has been suspended until Monday next week (13th January 2020) due to insecurity.
“All employees are to leave the site and go home immediately and wait for the notice to open the site,” the memo stated.
The company says it is consulting with the government as it seeks re-assurance following the recent attacks on the nearby navy base.
On Sunday, in a dawn attack that lasted around four hours, al-Shabab fighters stormed Manda Bay airfield, a military base that hosts U.S. and Kenyan counter-terrorism forces, killing three U.S. personnel. In a statement earlier on Sunday, al-Shabab claimed it had destroyed seven aircraft and three military vehicles, without providing other details. It also published pictures of masked gunmen standing next to an aircraft in flames, aljazeera reported.
The attackers also destroyed two planes, two US helicopters and multiple US military vehicles during their assault.
The Lamu Port project is one of Kenya’s key Vision 2030 projects and takes in at least Sh10 billion ($100 million) annually. It has been projected to be one of the key socio- economic drivers that will open up the Northern- Corridor.
Once completed, the port is expected to not only create jobs but also attract larger cargo ships due to its deep and sheltered bay and a wide navigable entrance channel. if run efficiently, it will also provide direct benefits within the region by passing on savings derived from lower marine costs due to faster ship turnaround time and at the same time reducing the cost of doing business.
The suspension now throws a spanner into the completion works of the port, which was due to be launched later this year by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The suspension of construction works at the Lamu Port is also likely to affect the construction of the Lamu Port Access link road which has one side of the dual carriage way completed.
Lamu Port’s 1st berth which was completed late last year is due to be unveiled later this year for full operationalization.