BY JOAN WANJIKU,NAIROBI,2ND MAY,2022-The government has imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew in Marsabit County amid a surge in inter-ethnic attacks that have defied peace initiatives and the lapse of the 30-day window sought by county leaders to secure reconciliation.
Describing the situation as a “matter of grave concern”, Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr. Fred Matiang’i on Monday announced thecurfew and a special security operation in the area.
“We are moving in, full blown and very stiff security activity in that sub-county and especially in that sub-location where those illegal activities are happening. Anyone who moves there will be deemed to be an armed, dangerous combatant and the security sector will deal with you that way,” said Matiang’i.
He noted that the 6pm-6am curfew will last for 30 days, with the option of an extension, and will run in tandem with a disarmament exercise targeting illegal guns and ammunition.
The CS was speaking after chairing a security meeting at the General Service Unit Headquarters in Nairobi.
The latest incident in Yanish, Laisamis constituency last week saw bandits linked to a local ethnic militia shoot dead six people, including a Chief and his assistant, wounding four others.
“We in the security sector are counting losses almost every other day because of these challenges. We will stay on this operation until sanity prevails and until we stop the senseless loss of lives in that county,” said Matiang’i.
He further expressed concerns over political leaders who have frustrated previous attempts to pacify the area amid animosity between the Borana and Gabra communities that has progressively boiled over.
According to the CS, rival groups have been armed and transformed into competitive political militias meting out violence on innocent civilians in what has become one the costliest security challenge in the country.
“The leaders in that area have been less than truthful, and none is innocent. Each one of them accesses illegal firearms because they’re in the neighbourhood of a conflict area and a conflict region,
“They have constantly taken advantage of that to arm large groups of bandits and thugs. The unfortunate result has been the loss of lives of innocent people,” he said.
The operation by security teams drawn from the GSU, the Rapid Deployment Unit, the Quick Response Unit, the Anti Stock Theft Unit among others will also be extended to the Sololo area where suspected Oromo Liberation Front militias are active.