By Ali Abdi and Wainaina Ndungâu
Abdia Mohammed, 37, says her husband was shot dead at Bula Gudud along the western bank of Isiolo River last January 23.
ââWe had 17 camels and were tilling a farm along the river until this violence broke out. My husband was killed when the animals were stolen by bandits and we moved to this camp," she said, speaking at Kilimani AP and Chief camp where hundreds of Somali and Borana victims of violence took shelter.
Abdia is among scores of people uprooted from their homes in Bula Gudud, Kilimani, Bula Daka, Kipsing and Mulango when the conflict erupted.
However, like many Isiolo residents, it is hard for Abdia to lay claim to the land from which she was evicted. Few in the arid expanse that is Isiolo and neighbouring districts have title deeds to show ownership.
The land, which is being cited as a key source of the conflict, is held in trust by local councils.
For instance, the Isiolo County Council earns Sh500 per trip from lorries collecting sand in the two Isiolo wards of Kilimani and Shambani, but has also licensed some locals operating as a conservancy to collect a similar amount from sand transporters in a revenue-sharing scheme with residents.
One of the communities claims the conservancy status was awarded exclusively to their rivals without consultations and that the fee collection at the sand quarrying sites is supervised by armed vigilantes.
In the ensuing violence, up to 25 people have been killed this year.
Isiolo County Council Chairman Adan Ali said: ââThe custodian of all land is the council. No community can claim a portion of the land, especially grazing fields.ââ
Ali said with the exception of Isiolo township, the rest of the county measuring over 24, 000 sq km including Kipsing, Mulango and Shambani remains entrusted to the council on behalf of all its residents.