-- The African Union panel which mediated
Kenya’s 2007/2008 post election violence on Thursday
called for speedy investigations into the tribal
clashes in southeast part of the country that has so
far claimed 50 lives.
In a statement issued in Nairobi,
the AU Panel of Eminent African Personalities said
it was shocked and outraged at the killing on
Wednesday in Riketa village of more than 50 Kenyans,
a majority of whom were women and children.
"In condemning the brutal
attacks, we condemn in equal measure the clashes
which occurred in Kau and Kilelengwani villages
during the previous week in which more than 15
Kenyans died," the statement said.
Tension and rivalry that results into
the Wednesday’s violent clashes between Pokomo and
Orma communities have been ongoing for decades and
this also resulted in last week’s dispute that left
at least two people dead.
While Pokomo accuse the Orma of
allowing livestock to encroach on their farms and of
destroying their crops, the Orma complain that Pokomo
farmlands are too close to the banks of the Tana River
and prevent the herders from using the river to water
The statement came a few hours after
Acting Internal Security Minister Yusuf Haji ordered
the country’s police to probe an Assistant
Minister for Livestock Development Dhadho Godhana
over possible complicity in the killings in Tana
Haji told an attentive Parliament on
Thursday that the Godhana who comes from the region
had snubbed a peace meeting which he had called
earlier in the day with all leaders from the
affected areas to resolve the perennial conflict.
The minister said the assistant
minister had vowed never to attend all peace
meetings convened by the government and could thus
not establish behind his boycott of peace meetings.
Haji said the government will
conduct countrywide operation to disarm all
communities with illegal arms after a spate of
insecurity in northern Kenya and southeast parts of
the East African nation once a beacon of peace in
He however did not state when the
exercise would begin and how long it would take.
"The government will
investigate the genesis of the current conflict and
legal action be taken against inciters and rumour
mongers to ensure that law and order is
maintained," Haji told journalists after
holding talks with both current and former
lawmakers, local leaders and senior security
officers from the affected regions in Nairobi.
He said the government has opened
police posts in the hotspot areas across the
counties to address issues of insecurity and will
also provide humanitarian assistance to the victims
of the conflict.
"Leaders must sustain and
intensify the peace process in the affected areas.
"The area Members of Parliament
will lead the process," he said.
In its statement, the AU Panel
expressed its sincere condolences to the bereaved
families stressing that perpetrators of such violence
must be swiftly brought to justice, lest
"impunity sow the seeds for future attacks".
The Panel said the murder of Kenyans
by other Kenyans is a national tragedy and demanded
the urgent attention of the Coalition government, not
only to restore security, but also to address the
underlying inter-communal tensions over natural
resources, which lie at the heart of the conflict.
"In this connection, we welcome
the resolve of the two Principals to use the full
resources at the disposal of the government to bring
an end to violence and insecurity in the area,
" said the Panel whose chairman is ex-UN chief
It said the events of the last two
weeks in Tana River County underscore the importance
of augmenting efforts to promote national unity and
reconciliation throughout the country.
Analysts say Kenya faces real risk
to stability from challenges related to constitution
implementation particularly a contested devolution
system; tensions and divisions spawned by the
dynamics of tackling the entrenched culture of
impunity relating to the 2007/08 post polls violence
ahead of the first general election under the new
legal regime in March 2013.
The country also faces challenges
related to resurgence of militias such as the
Mombasa Republican Council (MRC) and the potential
threats they posed to the forthcoming elections and
the internal risks to stability posed by Kenya’s
external war on the Al-Shabaab in Somalia.
The analysts say the intense
ethnicisation of politics on the road to the 2013
elections is exacting its toll on pre-election
Meanwhile, a curfew has been imposed
in Wajir town after a man was stabbed to death and two
others seriously injured on Thursday in renewed
inter-clan violence in northern Kenya.
During the latest clashes, several
structures were burned that also left property of
unknown value destroyed.
Residents said the violence broke out
when thugs suspended to be members of the Degodia
community raided one home of a member of the Garee
clan, a few kilometres north of Wajir town with
Wajir District Commissioner Kihara
Ndung’u confirmed the incident but said peace has
been restored in the restive town.
Ndung’u said the curfew has been
imposed in the town as residents’ fear of further
retaliatory attacks on Thursday night.
Both Garre and Degodia have communal
presence and have sophisticated armed militia in
Ethiopia who has been used in clan fighting in the
Horn of Africa country.
The fighting pitting the
pastoralists Somali sub-clans of Garre and Degodia
reignited on Monday after suspected Garre clan
militia believed to have crossed from the
neigbouring Ethiopia killed six people, wounded
three others and escaped with 500 herds of cattle
after they raided a Degodia village in Banisa
district in Mandera West constituency.