At least six people were killed on Wednesday in Garissa County following suspected clan clashes.
The six were travelling to Hulugho from Garissa Township when they encountered heavily armed men who ordered them to alight from the vehicle before killing them.
North Eastern Regional Commissioner John Otieno said the attackers are believed to be clan militiamen.
“There was an incident whereby about five criminals armed with rifles stopped a Probox vehicle heading to Hulugho at Bokorey and shot six passengers at close range,” he told the press.
The bandits ordered the occupants to alight one by one as they sought to identify from which clan they hailed from.
“Preliminary investigations show the six victims are all from one clan. The attackers are clan bandits who were on a mission to revenge the death of their kinsmen [that occurred] a week ago,” he said, adding that the killings are linked to clan clashes between locals of Garissa County.
“We have put measures in place to ensure that there is security in Garissa town and identified all hotspots, and we have deployed enough security personnel. The hotspots will remain peaceful and residents should go on with their daily activities without fear,” the regional security boss said.
He said security agencies are looking for the attackers. “We will catch up with the criminals and the police will ensure they are arrested. So far we have arrested a key suspect among those involved. He will help us in our investigations.”
Mr Otieno appealed for calm as investigations continued. “Locals should coexist peacefully and spread the gospel of peace so that we can concentrate on developing this county,” he said.
He called on religious and political leaders in Garissa to reach out to feuding clans and end further bloodshed.
“We are dealing with Al-Shabaab challenge in this region and now these clashes. The government will not sit back and watch as clans turn against each other. Whoever is involved, no matter your status in the society, will face the full force of the law,” Mr Otieno said, adding that leaders will meet on Saturday to agree on a way forward.
“We must have a lasting solution to these incidents that happen regularly. Garissa town will have heavy deployment and these officers are under instructions to deal firmly with any criminal.”
In less than a month, at least 10 people have been killed in Garissa town following land ownership dispute between two clans. Garissa is home to four sub clans all drawn from the larger Ogaden clan.