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Marsabit clash victims buried as politicians warned

By Allan Mungai | November 6th 2021

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi consults with Nyamira Senator Okongo Omogeni during a fundraiser at St Peters' Nyakemincha secondary school in Nyamira County on November 5, 2021. [Sammy Omingo,Standard]

Six people who were killed on Thursday in Marsabit were buried yesterday in Badassa, about 15 kilometres from Marsabit Town as the community decried an increase in violence.

This happened even as Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i announced that more security officers had been deployed to boost security in Laikipia, Samburu and Marsabit counties.

The CS said the government would not allow innocent citizens to be killed and warned area leaders who might have a hand in the attacks that the government would take action against them if they are found culpable of any wrongdoing.

On Thursday evening, a lorry carrying 17 people from Marsabit Town to Badassa was attacked by armed gunmen, leaving six dead and 11 others hospitalised.

The deaths have jolted the community who are now worried that Marsabit is quickly becoming a volatile zone, which has been attributed to a deadly mix of politics and ethnic rivalry.

At the scene where the six people were killed in a hail of gunfire, the Mitsubishi Canter in which the passengers were travelling in was in a ditch, with bullet holes.

Gunshot wounds

There has been a string of attacks on residents of the county by bandits who are taking advantage of the forested areas around Marsabit Town for cover, a source said.

The wards at Marsabit Level 5 Hospital have many patients with gunshot wounds.

Yesterday, four of those who were attacked on Thursday had been treated and discharged.

But there were still seven other shell-shocked victims recuperating but in stable condition, some with bullets still lodged in their bodies.

One of the victims from an attack a week ago lost a leg and was still in hospital.

Liban Wako, the superintendent of the Marsabit County Hospital, said the leg had to be amputated to save the victim’s life.

Communities that lived in relative harmony now view each other with suspicion.

The frequency of the attacks is increasing, too, and residents are blaming politics with elections just nine months away.

“Initially, the killing was in the (grazing) fields but it has become assassinations now,” Dida Haro, 54, whose brother was the driver of the lorry, said.

The killings have become a point of confluence for the Borana Community in Marsabit Town who believe they have a target on their backs.

Marsabit Governor Mohamud Ali said the attacks are attempts to subvert his administration and make the county ungovernable.

“Every time we have something planned in the county, people are killed. It is unimaginable that year in year out we will be crying for our safety,” he said.

And speaking during a fundraiser at Nyakemincha Secondary School in Nyamira County yesterday, Dr Matiang’i warned politicians against inciting citizens into violence and those found causing a breach of peace would be dealt with, notwithstanding their political persuasion.

Matiangi criticised politicians moving around various parts of the country, taking credit for government projects. He told the politicians that Kenyans were watching.

[Additional Reporting by Edwin Nyarangi]. [email protected]

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