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Rustling at the heart of Kuria East clan clashes

By | Jul 6th 2009 | 2 min read

Clashes in Kuria District have seen 6,000 people displaced from Girigiri and Ntimaru — the two divisions worst affected — and more than 700 homes burned. There are 80 households living in IDP camps in Kegonga and Ntimaru, but the rest of the displaced have fled into neighbouring Tanzania.

After close to three months of fighting, in which 20 people have been killed, there is now an uneasy calm. It has been achieved through a mix of strategies: A key change in the provincial administration, deployment of General Service Unit personell and ‘peace talks’ led by elders from the feuding Buirege and Nyabasi clans.

The issues at the heart of the fighting, however, have not been resolved. The latest fighting was sparked by the killing of two people during a cattle rustling attack in late May.

There is also a political dimension, as the clans are in dispute over the location of the Kuria East district headquarters.

The Nyabasi want it to remain at Kegonga, while the Buirege want it moved to Getongoroma.

Much of the effort to deal with this matter has addressed the latter issue. Councillors have been grilled and more than 60 people charged in court over the clashes. The more ingrained issue of rustling seems to take a back seat.

Without an end to cattle rustling among the Kuria, any peace obtained will only be temporary. It is in dismantling the structures that support rustling and providing alternatives that Government can remove, once and for all, the cause of perennial clashes or inter-clan political differences.

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