NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 12 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has assured Kenyans of his commitment to end the ethnic violence in Mandera and Wajir where two clans have remained at loggerheads for several months now.
The Head of State who was speaking at a breakfast meeting with editors at State House on Friday morning stated that the government may have to resort to more drastic measures, if the warring clans do not stop fighting.
“Where we are now is a situation where we have made it abundantly clear that if this does not stop, we are going to have to be forced to take some very drastic measures which again have their own implication because this is not an issue of petty crime. It is a matter that they themselves must resolve failure to which the government must take a much stronger stand,” he said.
Members of the Garre and Degodia clans have been fighting since late last year, leaving over 100 people dead.
The president pointed out that the government is also liaising with authorities in neighbouring Ethiopia to rein in militias there.
“We have already been in touch with our neighbours namely Ethiopia and they have promised as a result of the fact that there may be collusion between the regional leaders and some of these individuals. They will try to bring in their police and army into that area to help us also combat this particular problem from the Ethiopian side,” he said.
Competition for political positions has triggered a long standing conflict between the Garre and Degodia.
They have been fighting over political dominance in the two counties since the March 4 General Election.
President Kenyatta has vowed to order use of force unless peace is restored in Mandera and Wajir and asked residents to immediately surrender arms.
He earlier directed the immediate surrender and mop-up of illegal arms, warning that if peace is not restored, the Government will have no choice but to mount an all-out security operation that may have unintended consequences.
The Head of State said his government will engage the Ethiopian government to ensure the peaceful co-existence of all communities along the common border.
The president also warned chiefs in Mandera and Wajir counties that they will be held responsible if they fail to take action and provide adequate and timely information that will help in containing acts of breach of peace.
He stated that the government will accord the leaders all the necessary help required in ending the hostilities and directed the Cabinet Secretary for Interior and Coordination of National Government, Joseph ole Lenku to immediately take the necessary steps.