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Muslim clerics condemn killings, call for calm

A section of Muslim clerics under the SUPKEM umbrella have condemned the killing of eight people in two separate incidents in Garissa County.

On Wednesday, an armed gang shot dead six people in Bukureu area on the outskirts of Garissa town and two others died in Galmagalla, Fafi Sub-county, in what was suspected to be a retaliatory attack.

In a statement to the media, read by Sheikh Abdirahaman Shakur, the clerics said that the indiscriminate loss of innocent lives, allegedly driven by land disputes and clan feuds, should immediately come to an end.

The clerics, who condoled with the families that have lost their loved ones to the two incidents, said the recent surge of violence among communities in Garissa County was distressing.

“These violent incidents have led to loss of innocent lives, destabilisation of communities and families, and an atmosphere of fear, despondency and insecurity. The conflicts not only threaten the lives of the citizens but also disrupt economic activities and undermine social cohesion,” the statement read.

The clerics, however, noted that it was the responsibility of the government, to safeguard the lives and wellbeing of citizens.

“We are, therefore, appealing to the relevant authorities, to act promptly to prevent further loss of innocent lives and restore a sense of security among the communities. As a society, we must collectively commit to resolving these disputes through peaceful means, respecting the rule of law and upholding human rights,” the statement further read.

The clerics said that preservation of lives and community wellbeing, must take precedence over any differences and challenged the government to address the issue conclusively in order to restore peace.

They also called on all parties to cease hostilities and engage in peaceful dialogue, to resolve the conflicts and also urged the government to strengthen the legal framework around land ownership tenure to prevent opportunistic manipulation of land disputes.

“We urge the political and religious leaders, elders, relevant stakeholders and society at large to act and address this spate of violence being experienced regularly. We urge all parties involved to seek peaceful resolution through dialogue and mediation,” they noted.

They warned that failure to address the matter could have far-reaching consequences by endangering stability and prosperity of the region.

By Jacob Songok

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