NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 6 – The recent gunfight between Somali and Jubaland forces has claimed a life and left 10 people injured according to Mandera leaders.
Led by Mandera Governor Ali Roba, the leaders told news reporters on Friday there is heightened tension in the border town, largely because of the presence of foreign forces in the county bordering Somalia.
They urged President Uhuru Kenyatta to direct the immediate expulsion of the foreign forces from the country for peace to be restored.
“The unpredictability of the situation is extremely worrying for the population and as leaders, we are caught in between diplomatic challenges between our nation and Somalia as a result of the spillover effects of the conflict between warring factions from Somalia which has a major impact on the security of Mandera People,” he said.
“It has become extremely difficult to balance between supporting our Government’s position and representation of the plight of our population who are involuntarily caught up in this conflict making it impossible for us to keep quiet while our people are suffering.”
Roba urged the national government to provide humanitarian support for hundreds of residents said to have fled their homes amid heavy gun-fighting between rival forces.
“So far, the situation taking shape in Mandera county is that of eroded public trust in their own government as a result of neglect, misplaced priority and putting the interest of external region over and above that of its own citizens. We refuse to accept that the interest of other external entities supersedes that of our population,” the Governor cautioned.
The leaders also welcomed Thursday talks between President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Somali counterpart Mohamed Farmajo, saying it will help on de-escalating the simmering tension.
The conflict started after Abdirashid Janan, the Jubaland state security minister, who is said to have escaped custody in August 2019, came to the country, Somalia accusing Kenya of shielding a fugitive.
He was being held by Somali authorities for alleged crimes against humanity.