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Leaders call for action to calm tension along Tana River and Garissa border

By Benard Sanga and Hassan Barisa | November 14th 2019

Tension is building up on along the Tana River and Garissa boundaries causing some residents to flee the area.

Tana River leaders are pointing accusing fingers at state for failing to arrest and prosecute Fafi MP Abdikadir Osman Mohamed and urging Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i to act fast to restore peace.

The leaders accused the national government of underrating the simmering tension in the volatile border and warned that it was bound to escalate into open conflict if not addressed.

“If the state does not do something, something will happen,” warned former Garsen MP Danson Mungatana who criticised “war mongers” out to trigger unrest in the area.

A meeting in Bura East of Garissa on Monday in which a local MP allegedly, demanded the restoration of disputed border regions to Garissa sparked the crisis.

Mungatana and other Tana River leaders called on the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Nurdin Haji to direct the police to investigate Garissa political leaders out to create instability in the area.

“We call upon the DPP, DCI and the National Cohesion Commission to investigate politician’s remarks remarks,” said Mungatana who was flanked by local activist Mr Maur Bwanamaka.

Tana River County Commissioner Oningoi Ole Sosio said additional security personnel have been deployed in the 3-mile disputed territory of Mansabubu and Diram in Bura East.

Garissa County Commissioner Michael Mweru Mwangi said investigation have been launched against the Garissa county leaders that, allegedly incited the locals on Monday.

“We have reports that some county leaders incited the locals during a function near the border with Tana River. We are investigating the remarks,” said Mwangi in an interview.

Sosio and Mwangi said enough security personnel have been deployed along the border to bolster security amid heightened tension between the pastoralists and farming communities.

But the sultan of Wailwana tribe which lives in Tana North close to the boundary with Garissa, Mr Ramadhan Sabisan claimed fearful residents have started fleeing the border areas into the interior of Tana River fearing an outbreak of war.

“Over 500 people are relocating. This is a matter that the state should take serious and make sure that the two communities who have been living in peace are not incited to raise arms against each other,” said Mr Sabisan.

He said families relocating are from Mansabubu and Shika Adabu villages in Tana River county neighbouring Korakora village in Garissa.

Mungatana said all state investigating agencies should act to make sure that peace that Tana River and Garissa communities were enjoying was not disrupted.

"The DPP Nordin Haji should forthwith order for the arrest and prosecution of the leader for incitement against Tana River County and its inhabitants," said Mungatana.

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