Today from Hiiraan Online:  _
Police demand surrender of guns in Mandera
Monday, May 13, 2013

Mandera residents have until Wednesday to surrender their illegally held weapons or face forceful disarmament.

Top police officers from Nairobi led by Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo and Director of CID Ndegwa Muhoro flew to the volatile area and gave the ultimatum.

“We order that those holding illegal firearms surrender them within the next three days or there will be forceful disarmament,” said Kimaiyo after a Sunday meeting adding the operation will be extended to the neighbouring districts.

Pundits however say it is unlikely there will be any response of surrendering the said illegal arms.

They arrived there hours after a police officer and a civilian were killed in an attack by gunmen in a canteen at the local police station.

 The police meeting with the locals was meant to plead with them to stop the fighting that has left at least four people dead and about 4,000 displaced since Friday.

In the Saturday night gun attack on the police station, gunmen also threw two grenades into the room where a group of police officers were glued on a television screen watching news killing a constable of police and an employee there.

Four other police officers are admitted at a local hospital with multiple injuries following the 7 pm incident. Both the injured and the bodies have been flown to Nairobi.

Kimaiyo said an additional 200 police officers will be deployed there to contain the situation and participate in the planned operation together with the military.

Insiders said the problem pits the two main clans- Degodia and Gareh living in the County and neighbouring ones over political issues.

Kimaiyo said they hope their order to surrender the weapons will work out as he pleaded with the residents to co-operate with the security agencies in ensuring the area is safe at large.

“The residents must also ensure that they co-operate with us as part of efforts to ensure the northern part of the country is safe. Some of those armed with weapons are known to the locals,” he said on the phone.

Residents say the problem in the area is purely political and that some militiamen have taken advantage of the situation to terrrorise the area.

“There is a feeling the Degodia were deliberately locked out of the elective posts in the last general election. This has spread to Ethiopia where the clans also live and it is becoming a major issue,” said a senior police officer in the area who added the planned deployment of the military may achieve little.

No single leader from the Degodia clan was elected or nominated in the concluded elections.

It is not the first time that the inter-clan wars erupt in the area. In 2010 a similar clash happened and led to the loss of more than 10 lives and destruction of property.

Army troops operating in the areas and police reinforcements have been asked to disarm local and foreign groups terrorising residents following a high-level meeting in Nairobi.

Deputy President William Ruto said the government had started talks with the Ethiopian government on disarming the groups and finding a solution to the rising insecurity in the region.

 “The military has been asked to disarm and remove all the militias, both local and foreign. We are also going to engage diplomatically with the friendly nation of Ethiopia on border security,” Mr Ruto said.

Mandera Governor Ali Roba and Mandera West MP Mohamed Maalim Mohamud urged residents to voluntarily disarm. Mr Ruto called on local leaders to continue meeting and find a solution to the problem.


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