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Mandera County warring communities sign peace accord
Saturday, July 06, 2013
Kenya’s two warring communities in the clash-torn Mandera County in the northern region bordering the war-ravaged Somalia has agreed on an end to ongoing inter-communal killings.
The leaders from the two feuding claims, Degodia and Garre, which have refused several attempts to bring them to talks to find way out their conflict for the last two years, due to a deep rooted mistrust for each other.
“As County government we have spent 5 million shillings (2.85 million U. S. dollars) to provide relief food supplies to the over 5,000 displaced families since the inception of the inter-clan hostility in the county and millions of others are still required to handle in resettling the internally displaced persons,” Mandera County Governor Ali Ibrahim Roba said on Wednesday.
“This money would have been otherwise enough to address other pressing needs by the residents,” Roba added.
The leaders had agreed to sit on a same table in Mandera town and signed a peace accord facilitated by the local political and community leaders.
The peace accord came after President Uhuru Kenyatta directed the immediate surrender and mop-up of illegal arms, warning that if peace is not restored, the government will have no choice but to mount an all-out security operation that may have unintended consequences.
Kenyatta also warned chiefs (local government officials) in Mandera and Wajir counties that they will be held responsible if they fail to take action and provide adequate and timely information that will help in containing acts of breach of peace.
Kenyatta said he expects the leaders from both communities to impress on the two clans to co-exist peacefully as Kenyans.
Analysts say the feuding pastoralist communities in Kenya’s north and southeast where clashes have been occurring have easy access to illegal weapons since the regions are close to porous borders with neighboring countries that are either war-torn or are emerging from conflicts.
On Wednesday, Roba said the deal reached by the two communities was a culmination of weeks of multi-sectoral peace talks facilitated by the national and county governments with the support from the local leadership and national cohesion and integration commission.
The Mandera county governor described the signed peace accord as a positive step toward the progress of the County government.
The county governor said it is important to witness the members of erstwhile rival clans sharing platform to the discuss issues of a peacefully co-existence and quicker end to bloodshed experienced in the area.
The Mandera region has in the past few weeks experienced brutal communal skirmishes that killed more than 80 people, displaced about 5,000 others and destroyed property worth millions of shillings in three months.
The peace accord was dubbed “Ramadan gift” since it was signed a week before the Islamic Holy month of fasting, which is due on Tuesday next week.
Mandera West lawmaker Mohamed Mohamud said the two communities has agreed willingly to stop further reprisal attacks.
“We agreed as brotherly communities, who have been living together for many years in the County to desist from any temptations of revenge killings and attacks for confidence building so as to allow the thousands of the displaced families living under deplorable situation to be resettled immediately, for them to restart their disrupted livelihood,” he said.
“From our observation of the faces of the members of the both communities from our ten days peace mission, which took us to all hard hit areas that they are no longer ready for the continuation of the tribal violence. Innocent people were killed, their earthly possession destroyed and displaced.”
He said clans have also agreed to open up all closed roads which have disrupted free movements of people and goods to and from Mandera town for weeks.
The lawmaker said the government has took a lion share in the return of normalcy in the area by providing enough security personnel to secure the Kenya common border with Somalia and Ethiopia and also flush out marauding militia from the deserted remote villages, so to allow the resettlement of the displaced villagers without any fears of them been attacked.
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