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Security committee closes down key tourist attraction in Kilifi

Some of the physical features at the ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ tourist site in Marafa, Magarini Sub-county on Monday December 9, 2019. Photo by KNA.

The  Magarini Sub-county Security Committee has for security reasons closed down the ‘Hell’s Kitchen’, a popular natural tourist attraction site in Marafa.

The  Magarini Deputy County Commission (DCC), Mbiuki  Mutembei, said the site was receiving many local and international tourists daily and needed to be secured for the visitors’ safety.

Speaking to the Kenya News Agency on phone Monday, Mutembei said the Committee had instructed the tourist association operating the site to immediately erect a perimeter fence before the site could be re-opened.

“The site receives very many tourists but it is too porous and people with bad intentions can easily access it from any direction and harm the visitors,” Mutembei said.

The  Sub-County Police Commander (SCPC), Elisha  Cherono, concurred with the DCC, saying the place will remain closed until the Marafa’ Hell’s Kitchen’ Tour Operators Association complies with all the conditions.

“We have asked them to erect a perimeter fence and ensure that all persons accessing it go through one entrance for thorough screening,” Cherono.

“We have also asked them to engage the services of private security firms at the site,” he added

The decision has, however, not gone down well with officials of the Tour Association, who said they would be economically disadvantaged following the drastic action, especially during the festive season when the number of visitors are expected to increase.

The Association’s Secretary, Kazungu Thuva, said the site receives between 40 and 50 international tourists as well as about 20 local tourists daily and was supporting the families of the 25 members and other workers employed by the Association.

“Police officers have been turning away visitors to the site since the decision to close it was made three days ago, and this has greatly disoriented us,” he said.

He said the Association was ready to comply with the requirements, but asked for time since erecting a good fence was costly.

“We ask the Committee to re-open the site and deploy security officers who will work with our security guards to secure the visitors as we look for funds to erect the fence,” he said on phone.

He  said attempts by the Association’s officials to meet the SCPC today  were futile as the officer said he could only meet them while in the company of other members of the Sub- county Security Committee.

By  Emmanuel Masha

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