Kenya: State Warns Mandera Leaders Against Fuelling Inter-Clan Fights

13 August 2020

Elders, politians and prominent business people in Mandera County have been warned against fuelling or sponsoring inter-clan animosity between the Garre and the Murule clans.

The hard-hitting message was delivered by Mandera County Commissioner Onesmus Kyatha on Wednesday during a peace meeting that brought together leaders from the two feuding clans.

The two clans have been quarrelling over Yedho village with either claiming ownership of the land that it stands on.

Without mincing his words, Mr Kyatha said the national government will not hesitate in declaring the disputed area dangerous and disturbed, which will lead to forceful eviction of residents by the State.

"If the situation in that area continues to deteriorate, then we shall be forced as government to declare the same dangerous and disturbed and you all know what that means," said Mr Kyatha.

Fighting terrorism

The administrator, who chairs the county security committee, said the simmering feud between the two clans is derailing the fight against terrorism in Mandera.

"These skirmishes are being used by Al-Shabaab to infiltrate into our territory and as we speak, about 50 members of the terror group have been lecturing residents of Yedho on how they are planning to takeover that area," he revealed.

He asked the leaders of both clans to choose between joining the government in fighting terrorism or fanning clan clashes.

"Al-Shabaab have seen an opening in this and are ready to take advantage of the same to cause mayhem in Mandera. We need to decide now and join hands in fighting the enemy from outside than causing bloodshed among ourselves," the county commissioner said.

According to Mr Kyatha, both the Garre and Murule have clan militias that have since been assembled and armed in readiness for a possible clash.

"The Garre have their militia that is camping at the borderline of Mandera South and Lafey sub-counties and the Murule have their group at Alungo. We are aware of all this and we are calling for a ceasefire for peace to prevail," he said.

Preach peace

Mr Kyatha called on the politicians to swallow their bride and preach peace to the local community.

"We shall not hesitate to arrest either of these members of Parliament [if] found to be inciting the locals to fight for Yedho," he said, sending a warning to Lafey and Mandera South MPs who were in the meeting.

Mr Kytatha said the government will recall all police reservists being used by politicians in Mandera to cause insecurity.

"We need to tolerate each because clan clashes will not benefit anybody except causing deaths and destruction," he said.

Yedho, a village started in 2003, has remained volatile as the Murule community seeks to have it abolished on grounds that the Garre have settled on the latter's ancestral land.

Classrooms burnt

On July 1, several classrooms built by Mandera South National Government-Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF) were set ablaze by arsonists suspected to be from the Murule clan.

Three weeks later, eleven houses were set ablaze and a water tank destroyed in an attempt to have the resident leave the area.

It is reported that the dispute between the Garre and the Murule over the establishment of the village begun in 2015 when Yado Primary School was first set ablaze.

The school has a population of 122 pupils in Grade One to Three.

It remains unclear whether the disputed village is within Lafey Sub-County which is home to the Murule clan or in Mandera South whose inhabitants are the Garre.

Administratively, the area lies on the borderline of the two sub-counties.

Abolish village

Alungo-Gof MCA Yussuf Maalim maintained that peace will only prevail in the area once the disputed village is abolished.

"We are here to find a solution and preach peace but a permanent solution to this problem is to abolish Yedho settlement," he said.

But his suggestion that did not go down well with Elwak North MCA Adam Maalim Mohamed who called for honesty within the group discussing the happenings at Yedho settlement.

"We need to be honest in solving this problem because there have been meetings in the past with resolutions that are never implemented over such issues," he said.

Mandera Woman Rep Amina Gedow called on residents to maintain peace.

"Whenever clans fight, it is women and children who suffer most and our people should not be used for political gain," she said.

Support peace initiatives

Governor Ali Roba said his administration is ready and willing to support peace initiatives reached in the county to end clan skirmishes.

"We suffered in our early years in office due clan skirmishes and this is something I don't wish to witness again in Mandera. I am ready to support any peace initiative because we have enough resources to do that," he said.

Other leaders present at Murule and Garre clans stakeholders peace meeting included MPs Omar Maalim (Mandera East), Abdi Mude (Lafey), Yussuf Adan Haji (Mandera West), Ali Adan Haji (Mandera South) and Kullow Maalim (Banisa).

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