, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 3 – Eric Taabu, one of four to survive Tuesday’s brutal attack at a Mandera quarry denies that they were warned of impending danger before the Al Shabaab struck.
He says to the contrary, their employer assured them of their safety saying additional security personnel had been deployed to the area.
“Are we mad?” he asked. “Even if we are, we are not so mad as to be told death is coming and wait to receive it. Whoever told the Deputy President that is lying.”
Eric says he survived the attack because he slept in a deserted quarry site and was therefore shielded from view.
“We had stopped digging for stone there because there was nothing left,” he explained.
Even then, he says, his was a half-sleep: “Out there you don’t sleep as though you were at home in your bed. You sleep with one eye open because we’ve come to expect night-time attacks. They come and shoot in the air and take your belongings.”
Tuesday’s attackers however, didn’t shoot in the air.
“Get up! They shouted. Line up! They commanded.”
Eric tells how they then passed a Quran round to their hostages demanding that they read it.
And if they couldn’t, “they’d tell you that when Jesus comes back even he’ll align himself with the Muslims. That Islam is the one true religion. Then they’d kill you.”
Eric managed to scurry to higher ground but that’s not to say he was untouched by the tragedy.
His cousin, Walter Oduori, was among the 36 killed and Eric was responsible for his recruitment.
“I took him there. His father is blind and he needs help. So I took him there. But what can I do? Death comes for us all,” Eric philosophised on his departure from the City Mortuary where his nephew’s body lay, those of his colleagues and where his could very well have.