GARISSA POLITICIANS FUELING INTER- ETHNIC AND INRA-TRIBAL SKIRMISHES BETWEEN ISIOLO AND GARISSA COMMUNITIES

I humbly piece-up together the following narrative regarding the above thorny subject which has escalated to monumental scale for more than two years specifically revolving between Isiolo and Garissa. These heinous acts is normally triggered by one specific Somali clan (Auliyan) from Lagdera constituency leading to Loss of human life, property, displacements of large segments of the communities and intermittent disruption of socio-economic activities and livelihoods.

The entire plot is crafted, planned, bankrolled and executed by local politicians from Garissa County. Whilst political leaders from Isiolo specifically Isiolo South MP and Council of elders employed diplomatic approaches such as inter-community dialogue, traditional conflict resolution mechanism and enhancing peace building.

On the contrary, our counterparts from Garissa are on persistent war path by sponsoring outlawed militias and vigilante gangs in the name of Kenya Police Reservist (KPR) to take law into their own hand by causing mayhem, pandemonium and turmoil between the two counties and yet they “play victims” in print, electronic and social media. The politicians should be held culpable by relevant government security organs. Be that as it may, before I delve into the crux of the matter, I wish to apprise relevant government security agencies with some fundamental background.

 

BACKGROUND

Northern Kenya is an area prone to violent conflict. These violent conflicts between different ethnic nomadic communities and sometimes between clans have negatively affected socio-economic and political development of the region. Most Government security operations and peace initiatives have not succeeded in quelling conflict in the region. Northern Kenya had a long history of ethnic conflict, violence and marginalization, but new conflict drivers and dynamics related to devolution, terrorism and resource extraction are now exacerbating these local tensions and raising challenges for traditional peace building structures.

Violent conflicts involving pastoralists have become widespread and increasingly severe in the North Eastern regions of Kenya. This petition identifies and examines the factors contributing to such conflicts, and discusses issues and priorities for conflict prevention and peace building.

The pastoralists in the Northern Kenya are largely nomadic. They live primarily in arid or semi-arid areas and depend on livestock (cattle, sheep, goats and camels) for their livelihood. They rely on access to pasture and water, for the survival of their livestock. Such resources are scarce and under increasing pressure. They must be shared amongst the pastoralist’s communities.

Conflicts involving pastoralists associated with resource competition, cattle rustling and wide availability of small arms are widespread and of increasing concern. The patterns of conflict in North Eastern regions are complex. There are many factors contributing to the risk of violent conflict involving pastoralists, and these have tended to become mutually reinforcing.

Traditionally, major causes of conflict among the pastoralist include but not limited to intensified cattle rustling, proliferation of illicit arms, inadequate policing and state security arrangements, diminishing role of traditional governance systems, competition over control and access to natural resources such as pasture and water, land issues, political incitements and ethnocentrism.

CURRENT STATUS QUO AT PLAY

Current political Face book posts (Garissa County page) and pronouncement by local politicians (Hon. Mohamed Hire and Governor Ali Korane) and some errand bloggers (Rashid Amin and Ahmed Rageah)from Garissa are fuelling inter-and intra-tribal and clan tensions. In Garissa County, for example, political competition over the control of local government is exacerbating existing conflicts over boundary disputes and natural resources. These localized conflicts could lead to ethnic clashes, violence, and the emergence of local militias, recruitment and infiltration by Al-Shabaab terror group.

PRESENT SITUATION CRISIS

√ For the past one year Isiolo South has borne the brunt of persistent skirmishes deliberately orchestrated by our neighbours from Garissa County;
√ Seven people died as clashes between warring communities in Garbatula Township, Isiolo County. Nine people were also injured. Somali herders from Lagdera, in Garissa sparked a fierce gun battle.
√ Several towns and settlements have been deserted due to intermittent attacks from invaders drawn from Garissa County.
√ In another incident more than 10 people were killed and another 13 injured in the conflicts in less than two months as the herders search for pasture and water due to biting drought. This has been exacerbated by forceful entry of herders from Lagdera in Garissa into Isiolo South Constituency.
√ Erection and building of illegal structures beyond their boundaries by the Somali expansionist population and consequently displacing Isiolo South people from Gafarsa, Belgesha, Modogashe , Eldera and Garbatula.
√ Many livestock have been lost due to deliberate incursion by Somali insurgency from Garissa County, Particularly Lagdera Constituency.
√ Several schools in Isiolo South Constituency have been closed or learning interrupted due persistent attacks from the Somali herders.
√ Settlements along Isiolo – Modogashe road by Somali herders serve as illegal armoury for firearms and other sophisticated ammunitions. √ This Boundary regions illegally occupied by Somali herders squarely belongs to the people of Isiolo South Constituency. Much worse, security organs have failed miserably in mitigating this menace.

INTERVENTIONS BY ISIOLO POLITICAL LEADERS

~ Isiolo South MP Hon. Koropu in conjunction with Council of Elders have initiated a campaign to reclaim our land invaded over time by expansionist Aulian neighbours from Lagdera.
~ They met former North Eastern Regional Commissioner Amb. Mohamud A. Swaleh and Eastern Regional Commissioner at Harambee House. They resolved to dispatch a team to clearly identify and put beacons on the boundary we share with Garissa County and to ensure that the expansionist will be relocated to their county.
~ The political leaders in collaboration with the area elders also organized a group of Wazees to go round the whole of Isiolo South to emphasize importance of peaceful coexistence with our neighbours.
~ The salient reason behind this occupation is due to mega projects initiated by national government.
~ The Isiolo South MP also lobbied for more Kenya Police Reservists to assist in ensuring security of these lands being reclaimed by expansionists who are grabbing it using guns and bullets.
~ It’s the area leaders and elders’ view that this uncontrolled influx of armed herders can be stemmed by pushing back the expansionist Aulian neighbours beyond the boundary thereby creating a buffer zone between the two communities.
~ Despite the efforts by the local elected leaders, there was no improvement and therefore we urge the national government to move with speed to restore normalcy in this hostile region.
Further in the North, the same problem is experienced owing attacks between Turkana and Samburu neighbours. Though the government employed excessive forces against the Turkanas.

THE AXIS OF EVIL

It is evident that, immediately after the Lagdera MP Hon. Mohammed Hire deployed his 60 militias, as stated in his Face book post on 5th July 2018, Isiolo South residents from Eldera location were cornered and their houses burnt to ashes, with scores injured on 6th July 2018. The riff raffs, dubbed “KPR Officers” were to patrol the hotspot zones and ensuring safety and security of lives and properties of Lagdera people. Strange as it may be, these atrocities occurred right in the territory of Isiolo South.

The displaced and injured residents of Eldera are currently camping at Garbatula Sub County as internally displaced persons. The Government should come up with a lasting solution to this menace, and not arming the already hostile communities superintended by the supposed Lagdera legislator Mohammed Hire. Therefore, the buck stops with the Lagdera Member of Parliament.

COPIED FROM (GARISSA COUNTY) FACEBOOK BY one RASHID AMIN

“The Emboldened Borana.
The recent political success of the Oromo people in Ethiopia has emboldened their brothers the Borana across the border in Kenya. The Election of H.E Abiy Ahmed as Prime Minister of Ethiopia was successful culmination of 35 years of struggle by the Oromo people. The changes that are happening in Ethiopia is having an effect on the region including Garissa County.

It’s my believe that what’s happening at Garissa and Isiolo County borders is indirectly connected to the changes happening in Ethiopia. The Oromo speaking people including the Boranas in Kenya are somehow convinced that their time has arrived to take over the region and assert themselves politically and financially as a force to be reckoned with.

You can see this from the brazen public speeches by their elected officials and their Council of Elders. No doubt the Oromo speaking people in the Horn of Africa are the undisputed majority in the region. But the way they are going about their new found political fortunes at the ground level is cause for concern and should raise alarm bells with Governments and Administrations in the region.

The Borana in Kenya are out to settle political score with Somalis over perceived none existent historical injustices. They are also through their Council of Elders (Gadaa System) pressuring their elected officials in Isiolo County and throughout the region to evict Somalis from land they falsely claim belongs to them i.e Moyale in Marsabit County and Lagdera in Garissa County. The Boranas who for decades were mostly uneducated and somehow lagging behind Somalis both politically and financially are now flexing their muscles thanks to Devolution in Kenya and Revolution in Ethiopia. Garissa County Government and our elected officials at the National level should not take lightly what is happening at our border with Isiolo County.

The County Government should also be aware of the regional changes that are taking place so that our people are not taken by surprise. The amount of propaganda being spewed by Borana bloggers on social media is also alarming.

To my surprise Borana bloggers are manning Garissa County page and other pages associated with Garissa County to get an insight on our local politics for their own consumption and to formulate strategy. We have to be cautious at this time in our history since the regional changes that are happening are big and historic.”

A piece by another warmonger by AHMED RAGEAH posted on GARISSA COUNTY PAGE FACEBOOK

“Notice is hereby given to all youths drawn from various part of Garissa county especially Lagdera constituency that inshallah tomorrow there’s a media briefing which will be conducted by youths to strongly condemn the recent attacks that was carried out by bandits from Isiolo South.. The press meeting will be held at The Clarion Hotel, opposite jeevanjee gardens exactly at 11.am. We are therefore appealing to all the youths in Nairobi and its environs to come and attend the press conference & show solidarity…..come one come all.”

In this regard, it is an open secret that the primary responsibility for developing and implementing the programmes and security measures rest with the Kenyan government, local, national and international stakeholders. International community also has a responsibility to do what it can to assist manage the problem of insecurity, conflicts and the ensuing displacements. There are many windows and entry points to reduce the pressures generating conflict and to promote sustainable prevention and enhancement of the pastoralists’ communities’ resilience. Subsequently, the government should swing into actions and arrest the Lagdera MP for masterminding ragtag militia, incitement and flaming ethnic jingoism among communities who have been harmoniously coexisting amicably.

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Author: Whispers from the North

Son of a goat herder who is an extrovert with a knack for Governance, Human Rights, Global politics & conflicts, International World Order, Foreign policy, Diplomacy & International Relations. Nonetheless, I live my life and you live yours.I am not in this world to live up to your expectations.You are not in this world to live up to mine.You are you and I am me. If by chance we find each other, it is beautiful.

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