, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 14 – Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Ole Lenku says the Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) have been deployed to man the Kenya-Ethiopia border, owing to the increased fighting between the Gabra and Borana communities in Marsabit County.
Lenku told journalists in Nairobi on Saturday that the government would not allow any foreign elements to fuel tension in the volatile area.
He said that according to government records 13 people had lost their lives while hundreds others had been displaced.
Unofficial reports indicate that more than 20 people have died in the fresh conflict that begun late August.
“Our records indicate that 13 lives have been lost but from a myriad of other areas we hear much higher figures. Thirteen is the number of actual bodies that we have been able to retrieve,” said Lenku.
Lenku was speaking after a meeting with elected leaders from Marsabit County including the Governor Ukur Yatani and Moyale MP Roba Duba.
The leaders noted that that their constituents were fighting over resources and were suspicious of each other but pleaded with them to maintain peace.
“The County belongs to all of us and we are not building this county only for today. We want to build it for posterity because Ukur Yatani will not be the Governor of this County for life. We are just individuals who will come and go,” Yatani said.
The leaders also pledged to distribute the resources equally and to ensure that County Governments share information with the elected leaders so as to reduce suspicion and open up communication.
Lenku had initially explained that the Marsabit County Government would be able to share its resources equitably once it got financing from the national government.
The process of transferring money to the Counties is still in progress.
“The leaders have committed themselves to ensuring fairness in resource sharing,” noted Lenku.
Reports coming in also indicate that the conflict in the County has been fuelled by deep seated issues like conflict over land and grazing areas.