Kenya: Tension Still High in Isiolo as One More Injured in Clashes

Tension is still high in Modogashe, Isiolo County and villages along the disputed Isiolo-Garissa border following a series of retaliatory attacks pitting two pastoralist communities.

Garbatulla Deputy County Commissioner (DCC) Victor Kamonde Monday said the situation is still tense following the Sunday evening skirmishes in which shops in Modogashe were torched by armed herders from Lagdera who stormed the village in what is suspected to be a revenge attack after two of their own were shot dead last Friday.

MAN INJURED

A man from Modogashe was injured on Monday morning at a water point that splits the two counties and was rushed to Modogashe Dispensary.

At least 15 traders were affected after their shops were reduced to ashes by the attackers in a fire that lasted for several hours.

Isiolo leaders led by Governor Mohamed Kuti, Woman Representative Rehema Jaldesa, MPs Abdi Koropu (Isiolo South) and Hassan Oda (Isiolo North) Monday visited Modogashe in an attempt to calm the situation.

WATER POINT BLOCKED

The DCC said attackers, suspected to be from Lagdera Sub-County in Garissa, have blocked locals from accessing a water point situated right at the border.

"It has been a push and pull situation since yesterday but we have deployed contingents of Rapid Deployment Unit (RDU) police officers to help prevent further attacks," said Mr Kamonde on Monday.

The attackers, he said, wanted to storm the dispensary where the injured had been rushed for treatment but police officers swiftly moved in to block them.

ARMEN ATTACKERS

On Sunday, a group of armed men attempted to attack herders in Birkicha, Garbatulla Sub-County, in what appeared to be a counter mission following Friday's incident where two men suspected to be from Lagdera were shot dead.

"The herders managed to alert the police in good time who responded immediately and managed to restore order. In the process, one person was killed and a magazine with 30 rounds of ammunition was recovered from him," said Mr Kamonde.

On Friday, two herders were killed while one was injured at Quri grazing ground in Garbatulla Sub-County.

Sharing of pasture and boundary disputes pitting Isiolo and Garissa counties are said to be fuelling the attacks.

MORE SECURITY

Mr Kamonde said the government has deployed more security personnel to the area to restore normalcy.

"I appeal to both communities to value peace rather than engaging in war; losing lives of young people is never heroic," added the DCC.

The region is currently facing acute shortage of water and pasture, threatening the livelihoods of both communities.

Isiolo pastoralists have long complained of intrusion by herders from Lagdera into their grazing zones saying they deplete the insufficient pasture.

Isiolo Woman Representative Rehema Jaldesa condemned the skirmishes in Modogashe, calling on security officials to move with speed and calm the situation.

She further called on the county security team to arrest and ensure perpetrators of the heinous act are prosecuted and asked the government to compensate those whose properties have been destroyed.

Ms Jaldesa attributed the skirmishes to the Isiolo-Garissa boundary dispute and historical injustices.

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