Marsabit leaders launch peace drive in volatile area

Marsabit leaders in a show of unity after a meeting where they resolved to reconcile warring sides. At least 14 people were killed in clashes in Saku recently. [Ali Abdi, Standard]
Leaders have started reconciliation meetings to end recurrent clashes that have claimed scores of lives.

Coming one week after two Members of Parliament (MPs) were freed on bond by a Nairobi court to spearhead the peace process, the leaders have committed to end the cycle of violence witnessed in the area.

The leaders met at Marsabit Catholic Diocese hall and later in Laisamis to start the peace process.

At least 14 people have been killed, scores injured and property destroyed at Horonder, Kubi Qallo, Dololo Wayama, Shuur and Jaldesa in the last one month.

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At least 19 schools were closed and hundreds of families displaced.

The  leaders were joined by stakeholders from the interfaith community, non governmental organisations, elders and the county security committee, who resolved to bring together warring communities.

Meeting list

Those who attended the meeting included Governor Mohamud Ali, Senator Abubakar Harugura and his nominated colleague Naomi Waqo and MPs Ali Rasso (Saku), Qalicha Gufu (Moyale), Musa Arbelle (Laisamis) and Chachu Ganya.

Mr Rasso and Mr Ganya had been arrested last week and charged at Milimani Courts, Nairobi with incitement in connection with the latest conflict. Both are out on bond.

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The security team was led by county commissioner, Gilbert Kitiyo and County Police Commander Wachira Mathenge.

The interfaith side was led by Catholic Diocese Bishop Peter Kihara and Sheikh Mohammed Noor Kuli of Jamia Mosque.

“We have arrived at a critical moment in the history of this county where we must either find peace and embrace it unconditionally or sink together in chaos and conflict,” said Governor Ali.

The leaders resolved to follow up a 10-point resolution agreed in Nairobi last week to promote peaceful co-existence.

A 20-member team drawn from all communities is expected to spearhead the peace drive.

SEE ALSO :Conflict over water leaves 11 people dead, two wounded

During the meeting, religious leaders called an end to incitement. They reminded those in attendance of the 2006 Marsabit plane crash where 14 people, including MPs from the county, perished while on a peace mission.

Governor Ali said unending conflict had distracted leaders from focusing on development.

Taking sides

He accused the county security team of laxity and taking sides in the conflict.

‘‘The security team, especially the police, must do their work. Police arrive at scenes of attacks sometimes 10 hours later. This is disservice to the residents,’’ Ali said.

SEE ALSO :11 people killed near Kenya-Ethiopia border

Intelligence sources indicated some fighters were heavily armed and had destroyed water points at Jaldesa and Kubi Qallo.

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MarsabitGovernor Mohamud AliInsecurity