Friday, August 24, 2012
MANDERA (Xinhua) - Humanitarian crisis is looming in Mandera County of northern Kenya following the escalation of inter-communal fighting that has so far left more than 10 people dead since Monday.
The fighting pitting Somali sub-clans of Garre and Degodia reignited on Monday after suspected Garre clan militia believed to have crossed from the neighboring Ethiopia killed six people, wounded three others and escaped with 500 herds of cattle after they raided a Degodia village in Banisa district in Mandera West constituency.
The Degodia raiders on the following day sneaked from Ethiopia and attacked Rhamu town, killing six people and wounding four others in what the government said a revenge attack for the Monday killings.
Kenya Red Cross Society Coordinator for Mandera, Ahmed Abdi, told Xinhua on Thursday that hundreds of families from the both warring clans were fleeing areas because of being predominated by the rival clan.
"As I’m speaking to you now scores of families have already arrived in Mandera town and others are on their way from Rhamu, where six people were killed and six others injured on Tuesday night.
"Majority of those fleeing are Garre who are minority in the town," he added.
In 2008, the government was forced to use the military to quell bloody clashes that claimed more than 40 people and displaced thousands of others in Mandera East district.
The two clans, who both have clan presences in the bordering Ethiopian region, are accusing each other of hiring militia across the border to be engaged in the killings.
Abdi said the Degodia too are fleeing from remote villages in Mandera West constituency, where the rival Garre clan are the majority, for fear of being targeted for the reprisal attacks for the people killed by their clan men in Rhamu on Tuesday night.
Halima Mohamed, 43, who is one among scores of those fleeing from Rhamu following Tuesday night’s killing of a member of her clan people by their rivals, told Xinhua that she had to run away since the situation was escalating on a daily basis and that the government seems inefficient.
Strapped with a child of three years old on her back and another one cuddling on hers chest, she pondered of her new life as internal displaced person in Mandera town which is riddled with insecurity from recurring incursion by Al-Shabaab militia.
The Red-Cross coordinator named the areas where families are fleeing in exodus as Yabicho, Didguba, Banisa, Rhamu, Glicha, Dumal, Guguba and Girissa.
Meanwhile, the government has assured the residents of Mandera County of their security and urged them to remain calm.
Mandera County commissioner Micheal Ole Tialal said adequate security personnel were dispatched to the area to restore tranquility as the fighting clans’ leaders go to the round table for negotiations to solve their difference amicable.
Police are now blaming the clashes in Mandera on incitement by local politicians.
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.
The animosity boiled into full clashes on Aug. 1 after two secondary school boys returning from a weekend excursion at their homes in Banisa to Rhamu were accosted and killed.
This retaliated a revenge killing of two people in Banisa in the following day.
Scores of families gripped by panic of the inter-clan killings have moved to the areas where the clans are majority creating divisions of settlements on clan bases.
General elections in the east African nation, which frequently spark violence, are due on March 4, 2013.