Friday, October 11, 2013

Anxiety back in Tana Delta after months of curfew which was ended by the president

Anxiety back in Tana Delta after months of curfew which was ended by the president

Updated Friday, October 11th 2013 at 14:38 GMT +3


KELELENGWANI, TANA DELTA: Tension is running high in Tana River county after hundreds of cattle were stolen in a night raids mid this week at a village where more than 100 people lost their lives following clashes between Pokomo and Orma tribes last year.
Security officials and local politicians admit that fear and anxiety have gripped several villages since Sunday when a ten year old boy got lost from Kipao area sparking fears he had been kidnapped by militiamen from a rival village but also say these should not be seen as a return to tribal hostilities.
Tana River Governor Hussein Dado told the Standard that his administration and security officials “are on high alert to avert any crisis” because the past violence in which about 200 people were killed began as “small incidents such as these ones” involving cattle raids and house burning which he said have been reported in some areas this week.
Fear and anxiety gripped residents of Kilelengwani village of Tana Delta district on Wednesday when about 30 youths, some armed with spears crossed into the area village that is still recovering from last year's tribal violence and reportedly took away cattle.
Residents of Kilengwani claim 500 cattle were stolen in Wednesday’s raid but police claim only 20 were taken away. Meanwhile other reports indicate two young boys from Kipao village are still missing from the weekend and their whereabouts and disappearance remains a mystery and source of tension between the rival tribes. According to Dado only one boy was reported missing from Kipao village and that mid this week some houses belonging to ethnic Giriama people were set ablaze by unknown people over local issues.
On Sunday last weekend villagers fled Ngao village when armed youth from Kipao stormed it in search of the missing child but chiefs contained the situation, peacefully. Yesterday Tana Delta OCPD Robinson Thuku confirmed the cattle theft but said "only 20 heads of cattle were stolen and security officers from paramilitary GSU and regular police have been dispatched to pursue the culprits." He said police have launched investigation to determine whether the theft is related to a long term misunderstanding between the two communities and urged pastoralists and farming communities to remain calm until full investigation are over. "We have already sent reinforcement to the area to pursue the rustlers and we will provide all information to you immediately after establishing who were the attackers, let us be patient," he said on phone yesterday.
Dado said the cattle stolen have been found and returned to their owners but added that so far this raid has not been linked to past hostilities between Orma and Pokomo tribes. The governor added that his administration believes that emotions are still raw in the Tana Delta following the recent violence because “you cannot make peace in one day” after skirmishes adding that leaders will not ignore any incident that can spark widespread hostilities.
It is not clear if the missing boy has been found but the latest incidents have caused tension raising fears that peace remains fragile. A curfew imposed in the area during the past clashes was lifted last month but police maintain a heavy presence there.

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