Tension high after murder of North Kenya residents

Tension remained high for the better part of Friday in northern Kenyan town of Mandera, after two people were killed on Friday by militia, according to local authorities in Rhamu.The residents said the deceased from one of the warring clans were ambushed at dawn by a militia group said to be from one of the rival clans residing in the area, killing them on the spot in Rhamu town.

Mandera County Commissioner Michael Ole-Tailal confirmed the ambush, and put the number of those who died to two.

“I can confirm to you that two people were on Friday morning killed by a group of militia.

“They struck the town and proceeded to open fire at the villagers indiscriminately, we understand the attack is politically motivated,” said Tailal told Xinhua by telephone.

However according to a resident from Rhamu who spoke to Xinhua on phone those killed were seven.

“I am right at the mortuary and I have counted seven bodies lying there.

“I still don’t know which clan the seven are from, they are all men and all have gun wounds,” said a witness.

The County Commissioner said a contingent of police officers had been deployed in the area in a bid to restore order.

“We have managed to stop more bloodsheds and are trying to pursue the militias who fled after the attack, we are sure we will catch up with them,” said Tailal.

Garre and Degodia clans, who have co-existed in Mandera and Wajir counties for years harmoniously, have turned bitter foes after 2007 general election, after the former clan lost its traditional Mandera central constituency to the later.

Garre, who are majority in the constituency, lost the seat to Abdikhadir Mohamed, a Degodia after Garre votes were divided among over four candidates contesting. Mohamed has since announced that he would not contest election in March 4 elections.

The two warring clans of Degodia and Garre that reside in the county have hard endless wrangles with each clan trying to outdo the other.

The wrangles have led to scores being killed.

Early this year with a few weeks left to election, more than 20 people were killed from both sides.

The killings were linked to political supremacy.

Hundreds of families from the warring clans has fled from far- flung areas dominated by their rival clan for fear of been caught in the recurring reprisal attacks pitting the paternalists Somali sub-clans of Garre and Degodia.

Livestock herding is the main livelihood and source of income in northern and some parts of eastern Kenya, and the hike in cattle thefts threatens to ignite cross-community reprisals and raids that could trigger ethnic fighting in the region.

Clashes between the rival cattle herding pastoralists in the region are common, with herders often carrying guns to protect their animals, but the recent fighting has been unusually heavy.

Source: Xinhua

Xafiiska Wararka Midnimo, webmaster@midnimo.com



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