In-depth: Another Kenya - The humanitarian cost of under-development

KENYA: Hundreds displaced in northeast clashes

Competition over land and water in the arid north often leads to violent clashes (file photo)
GARISSA, 8 October 2010 (IRIN) - At least 600 families have been displaced in inter-clan clashes over land in Kenya’s northeastern district of Garissa, say officials. The clashes, between the Abdalla and Awdag sub-clans of the Ogaden left two people dead and some houses burned.

Tension remains high in the area with the government declaring a dusk to dawn curfew. “Many families are now prisoners in their homes, they cannot go to work. The government must restore peace and stop this fighting, those responsible for inciting people to fight must also be arrested,” said local leader Anwar Bagdad.

Bagdad said kiosks have been closed and night taxi businesses affected.

The fighting started on 5 October in the villages of Bulla Sabul and Masalani before spreading to other areas of Garissa town. Most of the displaced are staying with relatives in the town; others are travelling to neighbouring Wajir District and the capital, Nairobi.

“We have distributed blankets, cooking utensils and tents to the families whose houses were burned. Medical assistance and referral services have also been provided and blankets and tents given to the displaced from the two villages,” Sahal Abdi, the Garissa Kenya Red Cross Society Coordinator, told IRIN.

Additional security personnel have also been deployed to the area to prevent fresh fighting. “We have enough officers on the ground, I am sure nobody will attempt to cause trouble,” said John Kiinjo, the Garissa District Commissioner. “We shall maintain the security personnel all over town and in the villages. We are [also] using elders from the two clans and religious leaders to preach peace and asking those who have left their homes to return.”