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Muslim clerics seek alternative conflict resolution to stem revenge killings, drug abuse

Muslim Clerics based in Pate Island in conjunction with Muslims for Human Rights (MUHURI) are seeking to establish alternative conflict resolution forums aimed at curbing revenge killings among youths within the archipelago.

The clerics who hail from Pate, Kizingitini, Faza, Tchundwa, Mbwajumwali and Rasini villages in a stakeholders’ forum held in Faza area revealed that plans are underway to establish the alternative resolution forums with the aim of stemming the cycle of revenge killings that has plagued the Island for years.

Speaking to the media, Imam Yusuf Mohammed blamed the increased rampant drug use and unemployment for the revenge killings taking centre stage, compromising peace and security in Pate Island.

“There is need for all stakeholders to acknowledge that the only way to tackle insecurity in the area is by resolving the issue through reconciliation forums that aim to get to the root cause of the killings rather than seeking the arrest of those who commit the crimes,” the cleric stated

Mohammed Abadi, a Faza based cleric stated that there is need to run a door-to-door campaign to sensitize parents on the importance of being more open to the use of the alternative conflict resolution mechanisms, to be able to help their children to avoid being involved in revenge killing.

“Revenge killings and even rampant drug abuse can only be resolved if parents play a more critical role in the bringing up their children,” Abadi said.

MUHURI Lamu programme officer Mohammed Skanda, revealed that plans are already underway to institute the conflict resolution mechanisms in which his organization will also be collaborating with the national government and the clerics to be more outspoken against the social vices afflicting the area.

“The alternative conflict resolution forums will bring differing parties together with the aim of resolving conflicts in a bid to stop them from degenerating further along family blood lines,” Skanda said.

Lamu County Commissioner Macharia Irungu, lauded the move stating that the forums would aid in residents taking ownership over the problems afflicting their society.

He said the mediation forums would also provide a platform through which reconciliation among differing parties can be ironed out with the aim of stemming cyclic revenge killings that have afflicted Lamu East in the past.

Revenge killings in the area happen when some people believe that the death of a person close to them needs to be avenged. Sometimes the revenge killings happen many years after the death of the one being avenged, after some people raise questions over the death, and consequently decide to revenge.

It is on this background that the clerics want to bring to and end the issue right from the upbringing of children by helping them understand it is unnecessary.

By Amenya Ochieng

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