By Paul Mutua
The Government has moved in to quell tension in Malalani Location, Mutito District in Kitui County following bloody clash between pastoralists and residents over dwindling resources.
Three people were killed and one left with serious stab wounds when pastoralists armed with AK-47 rifles opened fire on local farmers who were opposed to the pastoralists’ intrusion to graze in their farms. In retaliation, the residents attacked the invaders killing one.
Eastern Provincial Police boss Marcus Ocholla led a team of security personnel at the weekend to the conflict zone and read the riot act to the invading pastoralists.
Addressing security meetings at Twambui and Malalani shopping centres, Mr Ocholla called for cooperation between residents and security agencies. The PPO promised to increase security personnel.
“Following the attack, security has been heightened and we are warning the culprits. Soon they will be cornered and brought before the law,” Ocholla said.
Close to 3,000 pastoralists of Somali origin have migrated to Tseikuru and Kyuso districts in Mwingi North constituency, Malalani and Twambui areas in Mutito constituency, and Engamba and Mutha zones in Kitui South constituency with their livestock.
Four primary schools and one secondary school have been closed after pupils and students deserted the institutions in fear of attacks by the armed criminals. It is not clear when Twambui, Malalani, Ililuni and Koi primary schools and Malalani Mixed Secondary School will re-open.
Mutito MP Kiema Kilonzo, who accompanied the PPO, said peace and tranquility cannot be compromised and directed those causing mayhem be dealt with ruthlessly.
“We cannot condone or live with criminals pretending to be looking for pasture. This is unacceptable and the Government must act expeditiously to end the menace without delay,” Kiema warned. Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka condemned the raid and killings, describing the act as senseless.
“We need to live harmoniously in resolving the conflict owing to the bad weather. Leaders must refrain from politicising security issues and avoid utterances that could threaten peace and create ethnic animosity,” Kalonzo said on telephone.
The villagers told the PPO the pastoralists were uncooperative and have abused their hospitality. They accused the invading pastoralists of grazing their livestock in their farms without consent.