Tuesday, October 21, 2008


It is believed that several houses were set ablaze on Friday night as interclan continued relentlessly in Mandera, despite a dusk to dawn curfew placed on the town.

Red Cross Communications Officer Titus Mung`ou told Capital News in a telephone interview on Saturday that more than 30 people suffered minor injuries in the chaos. This increases the number of those injured to 23 since the clashes began five days ago. Eight people have been killed.

“The two clans (Garre and Murulle) were fighting until late in the evening. We have been informed that at least three to four villages were torched.

The casualties, who include women and children, were injured after heavily armed youths from the Garre clan raided Bulla Kamor, a village predominatly settled by the Murrule rival clan.

Houses have been burned on both sides of the clans that are fighting,” he said.

More than 50 Gharri youths armed with pangas and other weapons raided the village at dawn on Saturday. Scores of houses in Bulla Jamhuri, Bulla Nguvu and Bulla Mpya were reduced to ashes in arson attacks and counter-attacks for the third day in a row.

Kenya Red Cross Society Mandera branch co-ordinator Dugal Khalif said the latest clash victims were being treated at Mandera District Hospital where volunteers took them. Anti-riot police shot in the air to disperse the marauding youths who were invovled in the attacks.

Mr Mung’ou has urged the government to effect a temporary deployment of permanent security personnel in the area as well as vigorous peace building efforts, spearheaded by area Members of Parliament (MPs) and village elders, to curb the violence. “Perhaps having that sense of administration and security forces on the ground and also the leaders themselves bringing together the elders and talking to them from time to time, instead of allowing these small things to spark fights, will help.”

The Mandera Central District Commissioner (DC) Francis Lenyangume has held a second meeting with clan leaders to discuss ways of quelling the clashes, which were sparked by an attack on a water point in Jaldesa location, where one person died and more than 1,200 heads of cattle were stolen.

Residents said that the two communities were fighting over the control of the border town, which is largely inhabited by members of the Murulle community.

There was more trouble on Tuesday when over 100 families were displaced from their homes by raging floods. Those displaced have been putting up at the Komor area near the town, which was invaded by Garre youth who ordered them out. The chaos has forced aid organisations to suspend humanitarian and relief operations for almost 6,000 people who were displaced by the flash floods.

“The Red Cross and other organisations that are concerned with relief work cannot proceed at the moment”, Mr Mung’ou told Capital News.