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Source: Relief Web

One suspect has been killed and eight others arrested in connection with the recent fighting between the Degodia and Garre communities in Mandera, County Commissioner Alex Ole Nkoyo has said.

In an interview with Nation.co.ke, Mr Nkoyo also put the number of people who have died as a result of the conflict that started last Friday at three, including the suspect who was shot by the military after he refused to surrender.

The suspect was found with an AK-47 rifle with 28 rounds of ammunition, Mr Nkoyo said by phone.

The county commissioner said 11 people were injured and were being treated at various hospitals.

However, Mandera Governor Ali Roba claimed that six people had been killed and 14 others injured in the conflict that affected 15,000 households in Rhamu sub-county.

Governor Roba told Nation.co.ke by phone that calm was slowly returning to the area following the deployment of military personnel.

FOUND WITH FIREARMS

Mr Nkoyo said five of the suspects who were arrested were found with firearms while three were found in a compound in which there were spent cartridges.

He added that security personnel faced challenges in bringing to book those behind the attacks as the militia from both communities fled to neighbouring Ethiopia after the atrocities and police could not cross over to hunt for them.

The commissioner further added that the government had not confirmed rumours that Al-Shabaab militants were involved in the fighting.

He said the conflict started last Friday when a gang attacked a shop in Mandera and injured the owner and two other people.

A lorry was also ambushed at Bulatawfig while heading to Elwak and one person killed and five injured.

On Sunday, Mr Nkoyo said three other people were injured in the clashes.

Mr Nkoyo said the body of a teacher was found along River Dawa on the Kenya-Ethiopia border.

Locals fleeing from the attacks have sought refuge at the deputy county commissioner’s compound in Rhamu. The compound is also hosting internally displaced persons from Wajir.

“There are more than 1000 people. We are trying to get relief food from Mandera Town. The county government has also purchased some and has appealed to donors for support,” Mr Nkoyo said.

The county commissioner further appealed to the Kenya Red Cross (KRC) to resume operations in Rhamu to save lives.

RESUME OPERATIONS

KRC stopped operations in the area after their staffs were attacked and one injured in the conflict.

(READ: Red Cross halts work in volatile region)

Mr Nkoyo termed the conflict as politically motivated.

“We are investigating some politicians over claims of incitement. Some do it in Nairobi and use their cronies on the ground. We will slowly find the truth,” Mr Nkoyo said.

He said one of the warring clans was still bitter after losing some positions in the 2013 General Elections.

He regretted that the conflict had affected development activities including those initiated by the county government.

“The heightened clan politics and competition among leaders has exposed the residents to much suffering,” Mr Nkoyo said.

He said both the Garre and Degodia communities were heavily armed and that the government was looking at ways of disarming them for peace to prevail in the area.

JUST COOLED THE FIRE

“For now it is just like we have only managed to cool the fire because the warring communities still have firearms.

“We need honesty and sincerity among leaders. We have agreed at the grassroots to have peace but hatred and incitement is the biggest challenge,” Mr Nkoyo said.

Governor Roba said some 60,000 people in Rhamu were in dire need of humanitarian assistance following four days of fighting.

“There is a serious humanitarian crisis which requires all stakeholders to intervene. As a county government, we are doing our part but will also need assistance from donors and the national government. We don’t want to lose people due to hunger and thirst,” Mr Roba said.

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