The killing of seven people from Garissa in Quri area on Monday by suspected militants from Isiolo has sparked a war of words between leaders from the two neighbouring counties.
Garissa Governor Ali Korane who had gone to condole with the bereaved families who lost their families in a hurriedly convened security meeting at Eldere in Lagdera sub-county said that as leaders the will not hesitate to ask their people to ‘protect themselves’.
On Wednesday, Isiolo Senator Fatuma Dullo and women representative Rehema Jaldesa termed Korane’s remarks ‘inciting and a threat to peaceful co-existence between the two communities.’
Jaldesa sensationally said that six slum men were bandits that had crossed over and were hell-bent on causing insecurity on the side of Isiolo.
But Korane who spoke in Garissa town during a function to receive BBI signatures said that his speech did not in any way border on incitement into violence as was being insinuated by a section of leaders from Isiolo. “First and foremost I want to categorically state that I have no apologies to make to anyone. I want to repeat what I said in Eldere that our people will not sit back and wait for the criminals to unleash terror on them. Men should arm themselves with steel bars and protect their homesteads,” Korane said.
“For the last three years at least 70 people have been killed in the area by the marauding militants from Isiolo. These are human lives we are talking about here and not locusts being sprayed. Why can’t those leaders first condemn the killings before pointing an accusing finger at me,” he added.
Some 20 MCAs from Garissa rallied behind Governor Korane and asked security apparatus to move with speed and apprehend the two women leaders describing them as ‘the biggest inciters’.
Addressing the press outside the county assembly compound Saturday, the MCAs who included Mohamed Siyad (Banane), Adow Mohamed (Holugho), Khatra Iman and Fahaan Ali both nominated said that it was hypocrasy of the highest order for leaders from Isiolo to accuse the governor of incitement and turning a blind eye on the killers.
Siyad accused the government of not being committed to ending the killings noting that it was high time ‘the state stamps its feet on the ground’. “Politicians have no place to decide which area falls where and if by any chance a politician is talking about boundary issues, then that amounts to incitement and the government should firmly deal with such individuals,” Siyad said.
Khatra appealed to their neighbours to restrains themselves noting Islam does not condone bloodshed.
North Eastern Regional Commissioner Nicodemus Ndalana on Thursday reiterated that the solution to the protracted border dispute and competition for water and pasture between the two communities will come from their leaders and the community themselves.
For a long time, there have been questions as to what exactly is causing the row, while some say they are related to the disputed boundary, others think it is that is revolves around competition for pasture and water.
In mid last year, a 15-elder committee was formed to reconcile the two communities. Little has been achieved.
The latest clashes came a day after both Garissa and Isiolo county commissioners convened a peace meeting in the same area with local leaders. The meeting urged the two communities to live in peace and share common resources.
By Jacob Songok