Kenya: Clan clashes add to plight of displaced in northeast

News and Press Release
Originally published
NAIROBI, 17 October 2008 (IRIN) - At least two people have been killed and scores wounded amid fresh inter-clan fighting in the northeastern region of Mandera, a month after clashes there over water displaced hundreds.

"Fighting broke out on 16 October between members of the Garre and Murule clans over land that people displaced by flooding in Mandera town had settled on temporarily," Titus Mung'ou, a Kenya Red Cross Communications Officer, said.

At least 10,000 people have been displaced after heavy rains this week in the region and in parts of neighbouring southern Somalia.

"Two people have been confirmed dead," Mung'ou said. Scores of people have also been injured. Fighting has also been reported at Gari Hills, 130km from Mandera town. Four people are feared dead, said the KRCS.

The clashes have disrupted distribution of aid to about 1,000 households displaced by floods, said KRCS. "Some of the people affected by the flooding had earlier been displaced by drought," he said. The region has suffered recurrent drought in the past.

Among the affected are also households that fled clashes between the two clans in September. "They are facing multiple problems," he said.

Some traders have been forced to abandon their businesses after receiving threats from rival clans, said a resident of Elwak town, Muktar Elmoge.

Security patrols in the area have been stepped up while local leaders have held peace meetings to facilitate humanitarian access. Thousands of people in the area are facing extreme food shortages and are reliant on food aid.

An official at Mandera district office said police escorts were being provided to aid workers and transporters after some of them threatened to withdraw their services over insecurity. This was after five vehicles were carjacked by people suspected to be from Somalia.

Mandera town remains tense. "Roadblocks have been erected on either side of town by members of the two communities," said KRCS.

On 15 October a herdsman was killed in the neighbouring district of Tana River, "in what is believed to be a recurrence of conflict between the Wardey and Oromo communities" in the region, said the KRCS.

The herdsman was killed in an attack in the local Wayam Oro area, which has not received rainfall for several months. Inter-clan clashes over scarce resources are common in the northeast region.