Mandera County seeks lasting peace after years of conflict

Sunday January 14 2018

Mandera County peace initiative

Conflict Management Cohesion and Integration Chief Officer Mohamed Osman (right) and the Mandera County Director Enforcement Eymoy Leylo during a recent peace meeting. The county is striving to ensure peaceful coexistence in a region that was previously torn apart by inter-clan conflicts. PHOTO | LUCAS BARASA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By LUCAS BARASA
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By WINNIE ATIENO
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The Mandera County government has intensified efforts to ensure lasting peace, cohesion and integration in a region that was formerly hit by inter-clan clashes leaving many dead and property destroyed.

Over the years, prolonged drought sparked resource-based inter-clan tensions among the pastoralist communities. 

The Garre and Degodia clans have suffered inter-clan violence that has resulted in a chronic humanitarian crisis affecting members of both sides.

Many lives and properties have been lost as a result. 

The underlying causes of the conflict have its roots in the Ethiopian border near Malkamari.

SPILL-OVER EFFECTS

The proximity of the flashpoints to the county "meant that we always had to contend with the spill-over effect as the tensions spread to members of the two clans living within the borders of our county," the county government says.

A statement from Governor Ali Roba's office said due to the repeated incidents of inter-clan violence over the years, the spill-over effect has polarised members of the two clans leading to division, suspicion, tension and eventually full-blown conflicts that have "cost us a lot in terms of lives and lost economic opportunities”.

"Alhamdulillah (praise be to Allah), we are now enjoying a period of peace and tranquillity courtesy of a sustained and consolidated effort by the Ethiopian and Kenyan governments," the statement said.

INTEGRATION MEETING

Earlier last week, the Banisa administration on the Kenyan side and Mubarak administration of Ethiopia and Mandera County's Department of Conflict Resolution, Cohesion and Integration, held an integration meeting in Malkamari, Banisa Sub-County.

The meeting between the Garre and the Degodia communities was aimed at creating peaceful and harmonious co-existence between the two communities in Mandera and across the border.  

Through the mediation of a committee comprising of representatives from both regions, livestock stolen from each side during the inter-clan conflicts was returned to their rightful owners as a gesture of goodwill and normalisation of relations.

In the recent past, 20 cattle were stolen from the Kenyan side.

STOLEN ANIMALS RECOVERED

The committee managed to recover 15 of the animals and is searching for the remaining five.

In addition, the Mubarak administration of Ethiopia received seven camels stolen from Ethiopian herders and is now in the process of identifying their rightful owners.

"These are just but a few of the cases the committee resolved," the statement said. 

The "Region 5" and the Kenyan administration have vowed to work hand in hand to ensure communities living on both sides of the international border live harmoniously to achieve their individual and collective aspirations.

The clans which often used to fight over resources before devolution are now living harmoniously thanks to efforts by the county government, elders and the Kenyan and Ethiopian governments.

Tens of families that were displaced by the clashes have since been resettled.