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Source: Daily Nation

Tension between rival clans in Rhamu, Mandera County has been building up since June, due to claims that one group was resettling in the town.

Garre clan members are said to have been ferried from Wajir after the Degodia burnt their houses during clashes in which at least 60 people died.

For years, the two clans have fought over political dominance and control of resources in Mandera County.

In May, the fighting spilled over to Wajir following a conflict over a boundary between the two counties.

The clashes persisted for about two months until President Kenyatta summoned political leaders from the two clans to State House, Nairobi, on June 25.

HELD RESPONSIBLE

The President reportedly told them to resolve their issues or they would be held responsible. That ended the Mandera-Wajir conflict.

However, the clashes between the clans resumed on Saturday, and yesterday, they were still fighting in Rhamu Town, despite a heavy presence of security forces, including the military.

The town, which is in Mandera North Constituency, has been a battleground since last year’s elections.

The outcome of the election was the trigger when the Garres won all the big seats in Mandera County after forging a political alliance with other communities in the county.

The Degodias were upset by the loss, especially after failing to capture the Mandera North Parliamentary seat, which had been curved out of Mandera Central Constituency.

The seat was previously held by Mr Abdikadir Mohammed, a Degodia, who is now an advisor to the President. He had unseated Mr Billow Kerrow, who is a Garre and now the Mandera County Senator.

ALLEGED A PLOT

The Degodias are the second largest clan in the county, after Garres, and they are concentrated in the Mandera North Constituency.

So, when their candidate, Mr Bashir Haji Abdulahi, lost the seat to Mr Adan Mohammed Noor, a Garre, they alleged a plot by their rivals to marginalise them and eventually evict them from Mandera.

During peace meetings that the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) organised to unite the warring clans, the Degodias demanded that their rivals surrender the Mandera North Parliamentary seat. That did not happen.

The clashes escalated and several houses in Rhamu, the constituency headquarters, were burnt down.

SETTLING IN RHAMU

Claims that the Garres displaced from Wajir were slowly settling in Rhamu have been a concern among the Degodias.

However, Garre leaders on Tuesday said the allegations were unfounded and that the war in Rhamu was purely a Mandera issue.

“Claims that people are being ferried to Rhamu are not true, and if there are people settling in the town, how do we prevent them from coming?” Mandera North MP Norr posed.

“People here are nomads and you cannot control their movement.”

He said the current fighting started on Saturday night when attackers suspected to be Degodias shot a Rhamu businessman, seriously injuring him.

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