Protect us from armed militia, Garissa residents tell state

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A section of Garissa residents have appealed to the Interior ministry to step up security to protect them from armed militia that has been terrorising them.

They said some residents have been killed and others maimed, and warned that the situation might get out of hand since the assailants are associated with wealthy individuals and politicians.

They said the situation is becoming more dangerous as it has taken a clan dimension.

An officer, however, called for calm, saying the government is aware of the presence of the militia and is hunting for its members.

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Addressing journalists in Bula Kunaso, Abdirizack Ahmed, village chairman, claimed armed militants on Wednesday raided quarry workers, beating them up and making away with their belongings.

He said jobless youths who have resorted to eking a living from the quarries can no longer access the area for fear attacks.  

The latest incident comes in the wake of a series of killings linked with wealthy individuals with a land expansionist agenda.

On December 5, a man was shot dead in the area.

Residents said they have given up reporting attacks and killings on the suburbs of Garissa town as no action has been taken.

“Imagine someone was killed and no one bothers. Police have not even visited the scene and no one has been held responsible for such cold-blooded murders,” Idriss Abdi, a quarry worker, said.

He said the killing under OB47 on August 17 last year was one of a series of reports filed at the Garissa police station, yet no solution has been offered.

INSECURITY: Garissa deputy county commissioner Bernard ole Kipury speaks to the press
Image: STEPHEN ASTARIKO

“What is the purpose of just reporting to the police with no action? These people have other agenda such as to evict us from our residence, which we will not allow. The government should intervene,” he added.

Abdi called on Interior CS Fred Matiang’i to transfer all security bosses in Garissa town, accusing them of failing to contain insecurity.

Sahlan Hussein, whose husband has been working in the quarry for 10 years, said they have been raising their children through menial jobs.

She sells firewood to the local neighbourhoods but can no longer venture to areas outside the town for fear of her life. She appealed to the government for protection.

“Do we have a government? For how long can we be in hiding? Something must be done, these people with illegal guns must be exposed and charged,” the visibly angry mother of five said.

Responding to claims by residents, Garissa deputy county commissioner Bernard ole Kipury said the government is aware of the presence of gunmen troubling them.

He said the Directorate of Criminal Investigations is hunting them down as it has their names. He said it’s a matter of time before they are arrested. Kipury said those involved will face the face. He was, however, skeptical about claims that some wealthy individuals or politicians are being investigated for supporting criminals.

“We understand the situation. It’s all about land issues. We, however, call on residents not to take the law into their own hands because we are aware of armed men and soon we will catch up with them,” he said.

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