Tension remains high in Moyale amid renewed clashes
17 February 2014, 15:56
Moyale - Tension remains high in northern Kenya's border region of Moyale on Monday following renewed inter-ethnic clashes that have so far caused massive displacement.
The clashes between Borona, Gabra and Burji left thousands of families displaced to the Ethiopian side on Sunday night.
Marsabit County Commissioner Isaiah Nakoru on Monday said the number of those killed and injured in the renewed inter-tribal clashes is still not clear.
"The clashes started on Sunday. We have not established the number of those killed or displacement but tension is high in the area," Nakoru told Xinhua on Monday by telephone.
The government administrator confirmed that hundreds of people had fled the area due to the fighting but assured that the police will restore peace and order in the trouble town.
He said some of the families that fled into Ethiopian side were vulnerable groups that included women, children and the aged.
Nakoru said the government had deployed contingent of security officials to battle it out with the militias in the region which has been experiencing one of the worst continued inter-clan feuds.
Moyale district in Kenya's northern border with Ethiopia has been the scene of recent tribal clashes involving mainly Borana and Gabra communities of Kenya.
The northern Kenyan town which is less than a kilometer from the neighboring Ethiopia, burst into deadly skirmishes late August 2013 that pit Borana against their arch-rival Gabra community.
The volatile situation now, attributed to deep seated issues that outweigh the inter-communal crisis previously believed to have been worsened by cattle rustling and dispute over pasture and fuelled by historical land differences.
A villager, Diba Huka from Gurumesa said the families were forced to flee after the fighting intensified with a section of groups using mortars and sophisticated arms to attack and loot shops and homes.
"We could not establish the number of those killed or injured because every body was struggling to get out of the villages to Ethiopia," Huka said.
The Kenyans in Moyale started moving into Ethiopia side on Sunday after clashes that saw gun battle rages through out the night.
Among the areas affected were Gurumesa, Manyatta and the town center where heavy fighting was recorded.
He said the police and the Kenya Defense forces will also use choppers to locate the militias and flush them out of the region.
"We have hundreds of officers now patrolling the border areas to seal their escape routes in order to apprehend them," he said.
The renewed clashes come two weeks after the UN reported that at least 491 people lost their lives, 47,050 displaced and over 1, 200 others injured in inter-communal conflict in northern Kenya in 2013.
The UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said the cumulative impact of inter-communal conflict in Kenya steadily increased in 2013 with a dramatic escalation in December 213 during the deadly clashes in Moyale, Marsabit County.
Northern Kenya has been experiencing one of the worst continued inter-clan feuds. The volatile situation now, attributed to deep seated issues that outweigh the inter-communal crisis previously believed to have been worsened by cattle rustling and dispute over pasture and fuelled by historical land differences.
Analysts say the feuding pastoralist communities in Kenya's north and southeast where recent 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 conflict.
The conflict over natural resources especially access and utilization of the waters of the River Tana has been contentious for a while, leading to frequent clashes by pastoralists and farmers in the County.
Relief agencies say political competition for positions in the newly restructured seats in the legislature and administrative posts which were created in a new constitution that Kenya adopted in 2010 is causing the violence.
For the latest on national news, politics, sport, entertainment and more follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page!