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Inter-clan clashes displace 32,000 in Moyale

06 December 2013, 16:08

Moyale - More than 32,000 people have been displaced in the northern border town of Moyale following inter-communal clashes over control of natural resources and local politics, the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) said on Friday.

KRCS said thousands of people from Moyale fled into Ethiopia following inter-clan clashes that left several people killed, others injured and vehicles burnt in the past five days.

KRCS Moyale Coordinator, Stephen Bonaya told Xinhua on Friday that those displaced were from Butiye, Arosa and Gurumesa in Moyale town.

"Several people have fled their homes since Tuesday this week as fighting between rival militias intensified," Bonaya told Xinhua.

Bonaya said some of the displaced had moved into Ethiopia with their families while others were forced to integrate with their families in Wajir and Marsabit town.

Bonaya said that children, elderly and women were the most affected as many of them were separated from their families members during the Inter-clan violence.

The fresh clashes are mostly over control of resources such as water and grazing land but the conflict has also been linked to politics.

Moyale district has been the scene of recent tribal clashes involving mainly Borana and Gabra communities of Kenya.

Bonaya assured the affected that the humanitarian organization had dispatched a group of officials to try and trace them in order to re-unite with their family members.

"The displaced persons are in dire need of food support, shelter, drugs, water, cooking utensils, clothes and mosquito nets, " he said.

Renewed clashes between the Gabra, Burji and Borana communities forced the families to flee for safety as tension mount with revenge and counter revenge attacks.

Hundreds of families in border Moyale town were also forced to shop in the neighboring Ethiopia as transport services connecting Kenya and Moyale were paralyzed due to clan clashes in the area.

The families especially those from Sololo town depended on food and non-food items that were smuggled through the border town.

A resident, Oba Gumi told Xinhua that the conflict had forced truck and bus owners to withdraw their vehicles from plying the routes due to insecurity as police fail to provide safety of the passengers and their property.

He said inter-clan clashes between Borana and Gabra and Burji on one side had saw more than four vehicles burnt and others attacked along Isiolo-Moyale highway that connects Kenya and Ethiopia.

Relative calm returned to the troubled region on Thursday but the communities stayed away as tension remained high among the communities.

Marsabit County Commissioner Isaiah Nakoru said the government has deployed contingent of security personnel to contain the situation.

The communities clashed after series of attacks and counter attacks between them causing displacements, loss of life and dozens injured.

Unconfirmed report indicates that two people were killed on Thursday in Butiye area following a fierce fire exchange between the two rival groups.

The Borana, Burji and Gabra communities have been feuding since 2011, mostly over control of resources such as water and grazing land but the conflict has also been linked to politics.

Livestock herding is the main livelihood and source of income in northern and some parts of eastern Kenya, and the hike in cattle thefts threatens to ignite cross-community reprisals and raids that could set the stage for a surge in ethnic fighting in the region.

Settled Kenyan communities that live in regions bordering the pastoral areas of northeastern and eastern Kenya have complained that cattle rustling incidents are surging during drought periods.

- Xinhua


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