Thursday, October 30, 2008


The Kenyan government launched a serious offensive operation in Mandera district in NEP on Wednesday, leading to the arrest of over 200 suspects and recovery of 38 assault rifles and grenade launchers.
The operation follows heightened insecurity in the region which has so far claimed 24 people, including two Administration Police officers and an army officer precipitated by the Interclan clashes between Murulle and Garre communities over the past three weeks which have also led to the displacement of hundreds of families.
Kenya's Police Spokesman Erick Kiraithe said on Wednesday that the operation was successful and vowed it would continue until law and order is restored at the frontier town.“The purpose of the operation is to recover all illegal firearms and prosecute suspects of murder and other criminal acts,” he told reporters at a news briefing.

Mr Kiraithe said the operation was being carried out by a combined force of the police and military personnel who have also sealed off border points to bar the suspects from crossing over to Ethiopia or Somalia.

“It is a massive operation and I can assure you none of them will run away. We have many officers stationed at the exit points,” he added.

A local leader who spoke to reporters from Mandera however, accused the police of victimising innocent people.

“We support the operation but the mode they are using is not human. Many innocent people are suffering. They are torturing people and forcing them to show them where guns are kept,” Hassan Mohammed, a local leader in Elwak said in a telephone interview.

He said the officers were carrying out a house-to-house search. and that “People are suffering here, we are just appealing to the police to stop harassing people because men, women and children are suffering,” he said.

Earlier, Former Mandera Central MP, Hon. Billow Kerrow had complained that security forces were acting inhumanely and raping women but the Police Spokesman denied the claims and maintained that officers carrying out the operation were within the mandate provided to them by the law.

“Those are just malicious allegations. I can assure you our officers have not done that. They are carrying out the operation at the interest of the public and humanity,” Mr Kiraithe said

He spoke even as officials from the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) led by deputy chairman Hassan Omar Hassan toured the region and NAMLEF cautioned the two warring communities to live like neighbours.

The Commission’s Communications Manager Victor Bwire told reporters that the team was on a fact-finding mission on allegations of torture by security agents carrying out the operations.

“Our team is on the ground and is expected to file a comprehensive report,” he said.

The Security agents have recovered 47 rifles and more than 900 rounds of ammunition in a major operation in Mandera area after an operation was launched following killing of 21 people after the Garre and Murulle clans clashed. Majority of the people who were killed were Murulles. It is said, Military helicopters sealed off t
he borders with Somalia and Ethiopia during the operation, in which a rocket propelled grenade launcher and a hand grenade were also recovered.

The officers also seized a satellite telephone and three radios.

The operation began six days ago after bandits raided the area, killing eight people and stealing more than 3,000 goats, 500 cattle and 25 camels.
Police, however, have been accused of brutality and reports on Wednesday said that up to 200 people had been treated in hospital for injuries sustained during the operation.

According to Sheikh Ahmed Takoy, a member of the arbitration committee between the Garre and Murulle clans, Mandera will have no peace until recommendations of a 2005 peace pact are implemented. In 2005, the two clans battled for four months and, after a series of local peace initiatives, signed the Mandera Peace Accord on April 22, 2005.

Mandera had Peace Committees for long and it seems the clashes keep recurring everytime.

You can read here work peace initiative work undertaken by the Mandera Peace Committee, Kenya, headed by World Reknown Dekha Ibrahim Abdi, an inspiration behind and supporter of the Mandera Peace Committee.