THE NIGHTMARE BORDER CROSSING — KENYA/ETHIOPIA
MANDERA, KENYA: Three people were Thursday night killed after militiamen believed to be from Ethiopia attacked a village at the main border.
Officials said tension was high along the Kenya-Ethiopia border after the militiamen killed three women in Malkamau area and escaped back to their country.
Sources said all the killed women were Degodia and link the attack to the ongoing inter clan attacks in the area.
There has been an inter clan fighting between Degodiaand Gareh over control of resources in the largerMandera County in the past month along leaving at least eight people dead now.
Police say the attack happened when a gang armed with guns crossed over and struck the village before returning back and there are fears of retaliations.
More police have been deployed to the area in efforts to address insecurity that has been on the rise.
A section of Mandera residents have so far surrendered 10 guns and more than 500 bullets following an ultimatum that was issued to them to surrender their illegally held weapons or face forceful disarmament.
The assorted weapons were handed over by residents to various chiefs in the area on Monday and Tuesday as part of the ultimatum that was issued by Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo on Sunday.
But local police bosses said the weapons are not enough and urged the locals to continue surrendering them.
“These are not enough because we know there are many others in hundreds in the wrong hands there. We continue to urge them to surrender the weapons,” saidNorth Eastern police boss Charlton Murithi.
It is not clear if the planned gun mop up will continue given not all have been surrendered.
The move by the local clans follows Kimaiyo’s order that they surrender their illegally held guns by today or face forceful disarmament.
“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
They arrived in the area 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 last week.
In the 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.
Four other police officers are admitted at a local hospital with multiple injuries following the 7 pm incident.
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.
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.
Mr Ruto called on local leaders to continue meeting and find a solution to the problem.
adding the operation will be extended to the neighbouring districts.