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Government to establish a cutline between Kitui and Tana River Counties to end row

The government will dig a trench to demarcate the Tana River and Kitui Counties to reduce conflicts and incidents of insecurity along the boundary of the two regions.
Speaking in Kitui on Friday, Governor Charity Ngilu said that to curb insecurity along the porous border, her administration will collaborate with the National Government and Tana River County to ensure a cutline is done running from Kandolongwe to Kaningo to clearly mark the border.
“Interior CS Dr Fred Matiang’i has assured us that the government will establish a permanent General Service Unit (GSU) camp to patrol the volatile border,” Ngilu said.
Similarly, Governor Ngilu said the GSU contingent would be mandated to mop up illegal firearms and restore security in the affected wards such as Ngomeni, Tseikuru, Nguni, Nuu, Endau-Malalani, Voo/ Kyamatu and Mutha.
According to a report tabled in the Kitui County Assembly in 2015 by the Committee on Administration and Coordination of County Affairs, illegal herders from neighbouring Counties of Tana River and Garrissa have consistently been invading Kitui County since the 1960s.
Committee Chairperson Mwove Kinyala said the bandits commonly known as Shiftas, between the years 2000 to around 2008 started camouflaging themselves as herders and have since illegally settled in some areas such as Mwanzele, Mutha among others.
“The illegal settlement by these Shiftas has resulted in damage and irrecoverable losses to area residents, repeated loss of lives, endless trauma and constant displacement of people, ”the report noted.
Kinyala had recommended the abolition of illegal livestock markets within the boundary areas of Mwanzele and Yuku adding that livestock traders from outside the county should use vehicle transport to ferry their animals to markets within Kitui County.
The report states that insecurity has led to infringement on the right to life as it emerged that over 100 people have lost their lives in the attacks.
Nelson Kitema, an opinion leader with an understanding of the area’s insecurity, said that whenever there are attacks some schools such as Kyeni primary school in Mutha, Kakunguu Primary school in Ngomeni, Sosoma primary school in Nguni, Engamba Primary school in Endau-Malalaniare are forced to close down.
“Somalis have unlawfully taken over residents’ land without due compensation, leading to internal displacement and squatters,” said Kitema.
According to Kitema, over 3,500 cattle have also been lost during the attacks, “they graze their camels on residents’ farms which are their main sources of livelihood leading to famine, destruction of property, socio- economic loss and poverty.”
Kinyala noted that possession and smuggling of illegal firearms by Shiftas has also greatly contributed to insecurity in the affected areas adding that Mandongoi area bordering Kora National Park and Twambui in Endau/ Malalaniare is used as conduits for smuggling the illegal weapons.
Since normalcy was restored in Kitui South, the Kitui South Game reserve has seen significant increased numbers of wildlife.
By Yobesh Onwong’a

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