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Cohesion ambassadors get a dose of insecurity in Marsabit

A water pan in Oronderi whose control is a major source of conflict between two local pastoralist communities. Photo by KNA.
NCIC commissioner Dr Danvas Makori (seated) in a discussion with residents of Oronderi area which has been a battle field between two communities over an administrative boundary dispute. Photo by Sebastian Miriti/KNA.

A team of National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) ambassadors on Monday came face to face with the reality of insecurity in Marsabit County after their vehicle was shot at in Moile area along the Marsabit-Isiolo Highway.

The officials who were traveling in a fleet of vehicles to Samburu County after a one-week fact finding mission in Marsabit County, found themselves entangled in the banditry attack after one of the vehicles was hit on the front bumper by a bullet.

The Marsabit South DCC, Dickson Mutua said it was suspected that the attackers were cattle rustlers who were targeting 240 goats that were being transported from Marsabit to Nairobi in two lorries.

Mutua said the two lorries which were under police escort were also attacked but the security personnel managed to repulse the armed bandits and secure the people traveling in the three vehicles.

“Two lorries were attacked at Moile near Margis crusher area causing damage on the cabins and windscreen,” he said, adding that it was at that time the unsuspecting NCIC team vehicle was fired at as the driver overtook the trucks.

The  NCIC team led by Commissioner Dr. Danvas Makori held talks with different groups including youth, women, civil society, and members of the county assembly of Marsabit and security agencies as the commission made attempts to unravel the ghost behind the endemic insecurity in the region.

Others in the team included Commissioner Abdulaziz Farah toured the conflict prone areas of North Horr and Saku constituencies in an effort to unearth the reasons behind the prevalent ethnic animosities in the country’s largest county.

In a brief to the press after the visits, Dr Makori said the scramble for natural resources like land and grazing resources that include pasture and water as well as the outlawed cattle rustling practice among local pastoralist communities had been identified as the axis around which insecurity revolved.

“The competition for resources and cattle rustling now amplified by supremacy among the elite class has been the practice which has over time blossomed into mistrust, hatred and emotional disconnect among the locals,” he said.

Commissioners proposed a universal disarmament of the pastoralist communities and open talks towards harmony and peaceful coexistence among them

Dr. Makori said that an estimated 7,000-plus illegal firearms are in the wrong hands in the northern region of the country with Marsabit feared to host hundreds of small arms which have graduated to sophisticated weapons like machine guns and RTGs.

The  Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) also came into focus with residents petitioning that IEBC move with speed to lay clear administrative boundaries which have been a bone of contention between communities for a long time.

According to a quick analysis by the commission after the week long consultative investigations, the local security agencies were faulted for bias when handling reports on crime leading to mistrust by locals.

Farah challenged the security apparatus to urgently reinvent the wheel in order to regain the lost trust so that an enabling environment could be established for both security and socio-economic growth.

Records that residents with the help of NGOs and human right groups have maintained, show that about 200 lives have been lost and at least 500 families displaced over time in connection with cattle rustling, political supremacy battles and control of resources.

By  Sebastian Miriti

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