The National Commission and Integration Commission has initiated dialogue between warring communities in Mandera in a bid to de-escalate a recent wave of deadly attacks.
The peace campaign coming in the wake of clashes between the Gare and Murrule communities. Sadly, scores have died in what is believed to be a fight for limited resources and boundaries.
NCIC Commissioner Abdulaziz Ali Farah disclosed that despite months of arbitration between the two communities and their leaders, a ceasefire has been hard to come by. This he says necessitated the need for the agency to move in alongside other peace stakeholders to prevent the situation from getting out of hand.
“They reached a point where they couldn’t agree on an item. And when there was that deadlock, they asked for an external arbiter.” Commissioner Abdulaziz disclosed.
According to Abdulaziz, the commission enlisted the services of Sheikh Mohamed Abdi Umal, a prominent Islamic Scholar, who has been leading numerous peace initiatives in the region, in trying to end the months-long impasse.
“The Sheikh has done it before and they believe in him. And so, we had to get him and bring him on board for the arbitration process.” He said
“We want to ask them to stay in peace and stay as neighbors and love one another for the betterment of this county because the moment we have no peace there is no development.” The commissioner added.
“At the end of the day we are the ones who suffer. When a school is burnt, our children have nowhere to go. It is our sons, our brothers or our husbands who die. We should never support inter-clan wars.” the chairlady of Maendeleo ya Wanawake Ubax Gedi added
Area Governor Ali Roba noted that the pastoralist groups have historically fought over resources such as water and grazing areas. He further noted that constituency boundaries still remain a major issue even as he disclosed that the ongoing campaign will help find solutions to solve such conflicts in more permanent ways.
“We are engaging the elders from both sides as we negotiate peace in this area. We will have this dialogue for two weeks. As the county government we are here to ensure that matters that will be agreed on are fully implemented.” He said
The governor however downplayed claims that politicians might be involved in the current inter-clan feuds.
On his part, Sheikh Mohamed Abdi Umal lauded the move to have various stakeholders in the peace process noting that religious leaders have in the past taken a leading role in bringing communities together and solving conflicts.
Lafey Member of Parliament Abdi Mude said communities in the border town cannot afford to engage in inter-clan feuds at a time the region is experiencing the challenge of insurgency from groups such as al-shabaab.
“Although differences will always be there between neighbors, they should look on ways to co-exist.” The lawmaker said
His Mandera south counterpart Kullow Sheikh urged the security agencies to properly investigate and bring to book instigators of the said conflicts, so as to avoid a situation where retaliations are the order of the day.