Religious leaders calls for dialogue to end Kitui-Garissa border clashes

Religious leaders in Garissa have called for immediate dialogue meeting between religious leaders, peace elders and government officials to end the Kitui-Garissa border clashes.

The leaders say that severe drought as a result of the low rainfall in the last four years is worsening bodies of livestock in Arid and Semi-Arid (ASAL) areas forcing herders to cross borders in search of pasture.

Speaking on Thursday, after holding a post-election review workshop, the religious leaders called on the government to act decisively to avert any breach of peace and incitement to ensure that the communities live together harmoniously.

“The recent conflicts between pastoralists and farmers in Kitui County which has a potential to escalate to Garissa County, we call for immediate dialogue meeting between religious leaders and elders from both Somali and Kamba communities to find a lasting solution,” said Mohamed Minhaj in a statement read on behalf of the council.

“We condemn the killing of innocent civilians and livestock. We further call on police and NCIC to monitor and deal with cases of tribal incitement on social media,” he read further.

Rev John Mwaura who was representing the National Church Council of Kenya (NCCK) called for a long lasting solution towards resolving the border clashes.

“There should be a way to allow the pastoralists to herd their livestock respecting boundaries and farms of their brothers in those areas where they get their food. We want them to herd in the bushes where there are no farms,” Mwaura said.

“We want to ask all the security apparatus to work with communities so that they may get information on time and prevent clashes from happening,” he added.

Sheikh Hassan Abdi representing SUPKEM said though, the herders are used to moving with their livestock from one area to another in the large chunk of land in the North eastern region, they should put in mind that other places there are farms and lands whose owners need to be respected.

He urged the Somali communities looking after their livestock in Kitui to work out with the owners of the lands and ask for permission to be allowed to graze in the farms.

“Our Kamba brothers are not pastoralists as we are. They depend on farming and so it is good that we respect each other and maintain the good neighbourhood we have had for years,” Sheikh Abdi said.

He advised against taking laws in their hands when aggrieved but rather report the cases to local police who will follow up to settle the matter.

  

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