Violence expodes on Garissa-Isiolo border

On Thursday five people were killed and seven wounded in Garbatula grazing area in in Isiolo county.

In Summary

• Entreaties, peace marches, peace forums, elders' appeals, security patrols — nothing works.  

• Some blame boundary disputes, others say the fighting is over water and pasture and some say politicians incite violence to win 'their community's' support.

Shops and houses razed in Ladgera town in March by bandits suspected to be from the Borana community.
KILLING FIELDS: Shops and houses razed in Ladgera town in March by bandits suspected to be from the Borana community.

Who or what can stop these killings along the Garissa-Isiolo border that have gone on for years and claimed hundreds of lives? 

The two communities of Boranas and Somalis from Isiolo have been embroiled in bloody border clashes for over a decade.

All efforts by county and national governments and by local leaders to bring wanton killings to an end have failed.


Peace marches, peace forums, appeals by elders, threats by security agencies and security patrols have failed.

The number of dead, maimed and displaced is not known but it could be in the hundreds.

Violence exploded between the communities again on Thursday when five people, including a one and a half-year-old girl, were killed and seven people wounded.

It happened at Quri, a grazing area in Garbatula in Isiolo county.

The four deceased were identified as Abdullahi Muhumed, 40,  Hassan Dahir, 29,  Ahmed Diriye, 40, and  Ahmed  Farah, 52.

Banane MCA Mohamed Siyat said the child was killed while her mother suffered chest wounds.

“This is too much. We cannot be losing lives daily. The government has a responsibility to protect lives and properties. Irrational killings should be stopped immediately,” the MCA said.


While some clashes are related to a boundary dispute, others say the communities are fighting over pasture and water, each side accusing the other of being the aggressor.

A committee of 15 elders from each side which was formed in October last year was tasked with reconciling the communities. Little has been achieved.

Hassan Abdi, the Ladgera subcounty peace secretary, the government has never been serious about ending killings by armed militias.

Lagdera MP Mohamed Hire has accused the national government of turning a blind eye as the bandits continue to kill.

Residents also accuse political leaders from Isiolo county, especially from Isiolo South, of fueling the skirmishes to show 'their' people they are on their side.

Hire also accuses community conservancies of fuelling insecurity.

“As leaders, we have raised this issue with the security apparatus from the lowest office to the highest. We want to know who this Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT) works for. They have killed hundreds of our people in the name of protecting conservancies,” he said.

He said the NRT should immediately be disbanded and any armed personnel prohibited.

NRT supports wildlife conservation efforts. It has a presence in 14 counties and supports 39 community conservancies.

Critics accuse it of unfairness in distribution of resources among conservancies managed by communities.