Stop inciting locals to fight, leaders urged
Garissa governor says politicians have a responsibility to promote peace and unity
Garissa Governor Nathif Jama has urged Northern Kenya politicians to stop inciting two warring communities — the Boranas and Somalis — living along the Isiolo-Garissa border.
Conflict between the communities has led to the loss of lives and livestock, and property worth millions of shillings has been destroyed.
Their relationship has worsened because of cattle rustling and competition for water and grazing fields.
Nathif said the political class has a responsibility to promote unity and peaceful coexistence, instead of making utterances that aggravate an already worsening situation. He spoke in the General Mohamud Idd Prayer Grounds, where he marked Idd-UllAdha.
On Friday and Saturday, five people died. At least two villages in Tana and Belgish, where the attacks took place, have been deserted for the last four days. Residents moved to safe areas.
Nathif urged the national government to intervene to avert more deaths and retaliatory attacks.
“The national government should be constantly alert to citizens’ problems. Security officers should secure the affected areas and open up safe corridors for families trapped in the clashes,” he said.
The county chief said the government should not wait until residents are killed to take action.
“Protection of citizens and their property is paramount. The national government should ensure all trouble spots are secured for people to continue with their daily activities, without fearing for their lives,” he said.
Last Saturday, Lagdera MP Mohamed Shidiye, from whose constituency the affected residents hail, said the aggressors from both sides are known and their names had been forwarded to security agencies, but no action has been taken.
“The impression that the two communities are fighting over pasture and water may be true,” he said.
“But as long as these people [criminals] walk scot-free, we will continue witnessing more retaliatory attacks.”
Last Thursday, an elderly woman and her two grandchildren were tied to a tree, shot at point-blank range and their throats slit.
This sparked a major protest by Isiolo leaders. Both sides have been accusing each other of being the aggressor.
Nathif says increasing cases of crime undermine development and make the region poor. He wants politicians to be in the forefront in reversing the worrying trend.
Garissa Deputy Governor Hussein Abdullahi and Governor Nathif Jama address the press in the General Mohamud Idd Prayer Grounds, after Idd-Ull-Adha prayers yesterday