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Mandera leaders seek govt intervention as dozens flee homes amid gunfights in Somalia

At least 30 Jubbaland security personnel are said to have been given a haven within security installations in Mandera town which the leaders said had largely been deserted as locals fled/Google Map

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 2 – Seven national legislators Monday appealed for a government intervention amid reports that dozens of residents in Mandera were fleeing their homes in the wake of heavy gunfighting across Kenya’s boarder with Somalia.

The lawmakers from the county in the North Eastern said forces from the Jubbaland autonomous region were engaging their Somalia National Army counterparts from the Kenyan side of the boarder.

At least 30 Jubbaland security personnel are said to have been given a haven within security installations in Mandera town which the leaders led Mandera Senator Mahamud Maalim said had largely been deserted as locals fled.

“The war is taking part in our soil and the Government is doing nothing about it,” the Senator asserted. “What we are been talking about in terms of the danger we are facing, we have been vindicated today.”

He cautioned the country again taking actions that might destabilize Somalia, which has been war-torn for decades, even further.

“We should assist Somalia to stabilize,” Senator Maalim said.

The national government was yet to respond to claims that Kenya’s security forces were shielding one of the warring groups.

According to the legislators, the fugitives, whom they did not mention, have been seeking refuge in the country for one month now.

One of the fugitives includes Abdirashid Janan, the Jubbaland security minister, who is said to have escaped custody in August 2019.

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He was being held by Somali authorities for alleged crimes against humanity.

“We are asking our Government to intervene now. If they don’t, the dangers can be very serious. Half of Mandera town has been deserted,” Mandera East legislator Omar Maalim said.

“If these people have to fight, let them go fight in their country, not in our country.”

The leader warned that the government will be held culpable for any Kenyan life lost or property destroyed.

“We are asking the President to take action,” the Mandera East legislator said.

Early last month, Amnesty International asked the Kenyan government to hand over the regional security minister to Somalia.

“Abdirashid’s escape has left many victims of his alleged crimes doubtful as to whether they would ever get justice,” Seif Magango, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes said in a statement.

He added, “The Kenyan authorities must immediately arrest and hand him over to the Federal Government of Somalia, who should conduct his trial in a manner that that meets international fair trial standards, without any further delays. Victims of his alleged crimes have waited patiently for justice and their hopes must not be frustrated.”

The fighting broke out just a day after 11 Members of Parliament form the region returned from Somalia where they held talks with President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo.

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“Through knowledge of president who challenged leaders to be forthright to fight, we thought it wise to engage Somalia to attend to insecurity affecting our boundary and to provide direction in order to curb the menace,” said Rashid Kassim, the Wajir East MP. 

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