Tension high in Isiolo after two herders die in gun battle over grazing land
- Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki promised locals that a police station will be established in the volatile Mlango area.
- Chairperson Isiolo Sub County grazing Committee Samuel Lokoro said the attack happened in broad daylight.
Tension is high in Mlango area, Burat ward of Isiolo County following Friday's killing of two herders in a gunfight pitting armed herders from the host Turkana and Somali Communities from Isiolo against those from the neighboring Samburu County who forcefully invaded their grazing area yesterday.
Confirming the incident, Isiolo County Commissioner Geoffrey Omoding said armed herders from the Samburu Community forced their way into Mlango area in search of pasture, eliciting reactions from the host Turkana and Somali Community herders who jointly graze in the area, and a gunfight ensued. The two who lost their lives were from Samburu County.
Four herders from Isiolo and one from Samburu County sustained gunshot wounds. Those from Isiolo were admitted at the Isiolo County Teaching and Referral Hospital while the one from Samburu County was taken to Archers’ Post Hospital.
A section of Isiolo Community leaders led by Senator Fatuma Dullo have called upon security agencies to move with speed and flush out armed herders from the neighboring Counties of Samburu and Marsabit, who have allegedly forced their way into the few remaining Isiolo grasslands without following the laid down procedures of requesting for permission from the host communities.
Senator Dullo who visited the victims at Isiolo County Teaching and Referral Hospital, said the attacks have become very common over the last few decades.
Burat ward MCA Nicholas Lorot accused security agents in the county of negligence, noting that they failed to act and foil the attack, despite the fact that local leaders and residents had already sounded an alarm over an imminent conflict in Mlango area.
The Chairperson, Isiolo Sub County grazing Committee Samuel Lokoro, said that the attack happened in broad daylight, at 10.00 am, and it took security officers over four hours to appear at the scene despite being notified immediately the gunfight ensued.
He decried the fact that herders from the neighbouring counties have made it a routine to invade Isiolo grazing areas and cause havoc over the years, adding that it was time that government security agencies acted swiftly to drive away unauthorized herders from other counties in order to prevent further conflicts with the host communities.
Osman Shariff Abukar, an Isiolo resident however hit out at local political leaders accusing them of lack of commitment and honesty towards ending the culture of banditry in the region. He said that massive resources have been channeled towards peace building activities in the region over the years, yet no tangible results have been forthcoming.
Osman argued that even the proposed establishment of a police station in Mlango area will not address the insecurity challenge in the area if local leaders and the already present security officers in Isiolo are not honest in their pursuit of lasting peace.
The prolonged drought situation in the region is forcing herders from various counties and ethnic communities to converge in grazing areas where some pasture is present, a situation that is a breeding ground for further conflicts in the near future.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki promised locals that a police station will be established in the volatile Mlango area when he toured Isiolo a few weeks ago.
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