President Kibaki has ordered a dusk-to-dawn curfew and the deployment of more security forces in the Tana Delta following renewed tribal clashes that have left at least 38 people dead including five women, eight children and nine police officers.
Reports say that villages are on fire in the area following an attack by about 500 Pokomo raiders who burnt a police camp and several other structures early Monday morning.
A gun battle between the police and the raiders apparently lasted for several hours.
The attack appears to have been in retaliation to last Thursday’s violence in which 13 Pokomos were killed when raiders from the neighbouring Orma attacked Tarassa village in the area.
Capital News report
Latest News from Capital:
NAIROBI, Kenya Sep 10 – Leaders from Tana River are now calling for military intervention to quell rising insecurity in the Tana Delta which so far claimed 107 lives in two weeks.
Addressing a news conference at Parliament Buildings on Monday, MPs Danson Mungatana, Dhadho Godhana and Abdi Nuh said the situation on the ground was getting out of hand following Monday morning’s attack at a village and a police post which left 38 people – among them nine police officers – dead and two police vehicles torched.
Mungatana blamed the government’s inaction for the escalation of violence between the Orma and Pokomo communities.
“If the regular police were there; if Administration Police was there; if the General Service Unit was there and (yet) their equipment was stolen, there is no other better time than this for the military to be engaged on the ground to pacify the area.”
The Garsen MP said the National Intelligence Service and Criminal Investigations Department had failed to act on information given to them seven months ago, regarding the arming of militias in the region.
He wondered how it was possible that a few people who are armed and camping in a forest could be allowed to unleash terror on citizens.
“This militia must have somebody who is funding, feeding and clothing them; they are not using road transport, they are working in huge groups. Who is behind these militias? Who is sponsoring them?” asked Mungatana.
He cautioned that if nothing is done to restore law and order in the Tana Delta, the same skirmishes could erupt in other parts of the country as militia and criminal gangs take advantage of the lax response to such threats by the government and security organs.
Nuh who is the Bura MP accused the government of ignoring the suffering in the area and wondered why it has taken authorities three weeks to act.
“It is disturbing that such killings can happen amidst a forceful disarmament; It has taken them three weeks to see the enormity of the matter.”
On his part, Godhana called on the government to facilitate peace talks through the traditional elders.
“That is what has worked for us in Galole, because the elders have come together and talked to the youth and the women and they have said they don’t want the conflict to spread over to Galole. They have an initiative they are trying to drive and it is important that it is supported,” said the MP.
However, Mungatana and Nuh dismissed Godhana, claiming he was holed up in Nairobi and has not made efforts to seek peace in Tana River.
“If you have not been on the ground to see what we are doing then you theorise from Nairobi,” said Mungatana.
“We have been talking to these same leaders, so ask Godhana how many of those meetings he has come for,” Nuh retorted.
The Star Reports:
Kingi blames NSIS for Tana Delta massacres
Leaders in Kilifi county have blamed the National Security and Intelligence Service for the clashes in the Tana Delta. Led by Fisheries Development minister Amason Jeffa Kingi, the leaders said the NSIS failed to gather information on the clashes beforehand that would have otherwise enabled the government to avert the violence.
Speaking to the press after addressing leaders at Makio Hall in Kikambala, Kingi said it is the mandate of the NSIS to get information before such crimes take place. He said the agency has failed Kenyans. “The lives would not have been lost, that’s why they owe Kenyans an explanation,” he said. Kingi advised the government to investigate the root cause of the clashes and solve it to avoid a recurrence.
Related Kenya Forum posting