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Ten feared dead, others flee as Isiolo skirmishes escalate

By | Jul 18th 2009 | 2 min read


Ten people are feared dead in Isiolo as hundreds fled their homes after bandits attacked a village in a week of tribal skirmishes.

Tension mounted in Isiolo town on Friday when hundreds of residents poured onto the streets and engaged police in running battles.

Police fired in the air to disperse the chanting mobs.

Residents said bandits attacked Gambela village, located about 16km from Isiolo town, and shot the victims at around 1pm.

Three people were reported killed at a local mosque shortly after the Friday prayers.

A policeman identified as Osman Halake was killed in action along with a home guard. Local OCPD Marius Tum and DC Joseph Kamau could not be reached for comment as they were said to be at the scene, which is not covered by mobile phone networks.

However, East division DO Robert Wangila said police had recovered five bodies, including that of the police officer.

"I can only confirm the death of five," he said.

Residents who fled to Isiolo town told The Standard on Saturday 10 people were killed in the attack.

"I saw about 30 bandits who surrounded our village. They killed 10 people," said Mr Jackson Jillo.

As news of the killings reached town, several people started attacking members of two communities they accuse of being the aggressors.

clan clashes

Vehicles plying Isiolo-Archers Post route were stopped by angry residents, who were looking for passengers from the two communities.

The conflict, between herdsmen from four dominant communities — Samburu, Turkana, Borana and Somali — started on Monday.

Nearly 10 schools have been closed following the skirmishes between Turkana and Somali clans of Ajuran and Garre.

Some residents claim home guards, who the Government recently armed with 300 G-3 rifles, were fighting alongside the bandits to help their communities.

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