, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 20 – Five people were killed and six others seriously wounded when cattle rustlers invaded villages in Mandera on Monday morning.
Police said the incident occurred at Banisa area, about 200 kilometers from Mandera town.
It was blamed on members of the Gare community from the neighbouring Ethiopia who reportedly fled with more than 500 herds of cattle, according complaints lodged with local administrators and police.
The Gare community spreads both in Kenya and Ethiopia.
“Those killed include three men, a woman and a six year old child who were all shot during the 8 am attack,” a senior police officer in Mandera said.
Contingents of police officers were deployed to the volatile area to search for the attackers, although reports indicated that they had already crossed over the border to Ethiopia with the stolen cattle.
“We are doing everything possible to recover the stolen cattle and get the attackers, it is unfortunate that there were casualties,” North Eastern Provincial Commissioner Ernest Munyi said.
Members of Parliament from the region condemned the incident and urged the government to intensify security in the volatile region.
Leaders from the region who addressed a press conference in Nairobi on Monday accused the government of failing to prevent the incident from occurring “despite having intelligence of the attack since last week.”
Mandera Central MP Abdikadir Mohamed said they were not surprised the attacks took place since they have been dealing with this issue for the last eight months.
He appealed to the government and the people of Northern Kenya to work together to maintain.
“The government must take responsibility of safeguarding its people. It must take serious issues to do with safety and security of Kenyans especially when the attacks are from a neighboring country,” he said told journalists at a press conference.
“We are also appealing to the people who live in those two areas. It’s really in their interest to keep the peace because deaths don’t help anybody,” he emphasised.
Mohamed said they were most disappointed with the security forces in the area who have been unable to stop the Kenyan trained Ethiopian militia who are being used to destabilise Northern Kenya instead of fighting the war in Somalia.
“Militias that were trained by the Kenyan government are being utilized now to destabilise the region. It can not be left to continue,” he said.
“Yesterday there were deaths on the border of Wajir and Garissa. This (Monday) morning we have five people dead on the border between Kenya and Ethiopia and as we speak now we are informed that one other town is under attack,” he added.
He acknowledged that the cause for the attacks was political, explaining that the Gare fighters want to ensure that the Degodia community is completely displaced from Mandera North and Mandera West.
“They have mooted plans of having unopposed seats in Elwak, Banisa and Tabda so as to concentrate voters in Mandera North which is predominately a Degodia stronghold,” he claimed.
“The Degodia community has been engaged in numerous efforts of peace making but the Gare community has been turning down those efforts,” he added.
Mohamed says he fears that as the country approaches the elections, the situation is bound to get worse.
“We are appealing for very urgent action and to bring the people responsible to justice,” he stated.