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Security forces deployed in Mandera and Wajir after clashes

31 May 2014, 07:56

Wajir - The government has deployed more security forces in the troubled northern regions to help quell inter-tribal clashes which have claimed at least 12 lives.

Government officials on Friday confirmed that the country's soldiers had been deployed to provide security in key areas in Mandera and Wajir counties where inter-ethic clashes had taken place.

The attackers used heavy machinery and burnt down makeshift thatched Somali huts while people were at sleep, according to Wajir County Commissioner Naftali Mungathia.

Mungathia said the raiders suspected to be from Garre community descended on the Degodia village of Gunan, which is just 40km from Takaba town in Mandera County.

"I can confirm that three more villages were set on fire by the militia who were armed with sophisticated weapons. The injured will be transferred to Nairobi for further treatment," Mungathia said.

He said more security personnel had been deployed in the affected areas and warned that stern action would be taken against anyone found causing mayhem and torching down houses.

"Armored vehicles have also been dispatched in the affected areas to try to restore peace in the villages since we have established that the militias are armed with sophisticated weapons, " said Mungathia.

Meanwhile, tension remains high in Wajir town following the clashes with minimal movements in the stretches of the town.

The clashes have claimed several lives while hundreds have also been displaced.

An agreement signed by the two communities early last year has been cited as one of the reasons fueling the clashes.

Part of the agreement required a local government administrator in the regions where fighting was reported to resign or be sacked.

"The attackers were superior in weapons. They used Bazookas and mortar propelled hand grenades to burn down house. We had some security officers in the place, but attackers were more armed than them," he added.

He noted that 12 people among them, 10 men and 2 women were killed early Thursday, adding that some bodies were extremely charred to even recognize them, while seven others were seriously injured in the fire.

"Many families are now fleeing from the outskirts villages, such as Burumayo, Butalo, Bisinichi and Gunan, for fear of their security," the administrator said.

Mungathia said the families on the run were heading to Dunto, Ogoralle and Sarman areas in Tarbaj constituency, where they taking refuge among their clan members.

He said security personnel were deployed from lesser affected areas of Wajir county to provide security to families remaining in hot spot areas, adding that they were working closely with their counterparts from the neighboring Mandera county.

He said a team of senior county security officials and the county police commander David Kuria is visiting the affected regions on Friday to assess the damage and the humanitarian requirement of the affected and the displaced families.

 - Xinhua

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