Isiolo leaders have accused police of laxity in dealing with recent killings in Urura village, Merti near the Isiolo-Wajir border where six people have lost their lives in less than a week.
In the first attack early last week, two youths riding on motorbike on their way home were ambushed by over five armed bandits who killed one on the spot while the other, who had bullet wounds lodged in his groin, succumbed to his injuries on arrival in hospital.
Three days later, four others — 68-year-old Hussein Kampicha and three youths —were brutally murdered by attackers suspected to be from Wajir while asleep in their homes in Godh Garse area. An elderly woman was seriously injured by the attackers and is recuperating at a local hospital.
Speaking during a peace meeting in the village Governor Mohamed Kuti and Isiolo Speaker Hussein Roba, called for the deployment of Rapid Deployment Unit officers at the county’s borders with Wajir and Garissa to avert further attacks and loss of lives.
Life is sacred
While condemning the attack, Dr Kuti faulted security agencies for failure to prevent continued killings of Isiolo people by armed militia in grazing fields and watering points in broad daylight, noting that no one has the right to kill another as life is sacred.
“It is clear that despite knowing the conflict-prone and hotspot areas, the security team has failed to prevent violence and when it happens, they are not focused to bring the perpetrators to book,” the governor said.
In a joint press statement, four Isiolo MPs accused the attackers of having an expansionist agenda to instil fear in the local communities for them to abandon their ancestral land.
“We will stay put and defend ourselves and no inch of our land will be accessible to you,” they said.
The legislators lamented that no action was taken after the first attack and the demanded deployment of enough police officers to secure lives and properties.
40 people killed
Governor Kuti said more than 40 people have been killed in the last two months in Belgesh, Kinna, Eldera, Rapsu, Escort and Korbesa following invasion by herders from Wajir and Garissa in search of pasture and water for their livestock.
Mr Roba said Wajir herders have been invading the county for pasture without seeking permission, thus sparking conflicts between communities living along the border.
“We (leaders) should find ways of promoting business between warring communities living along the border to end the perennial attacks and ensure peaceful coexistence,” the county Speaker said.
At the same time, the Isiolo governor asked the government to move with speed and solve the border issue between his county and Garissa to curb retaliatory attacks between herders from both regions.
“The Ministry of Interior should also intervene and conduct a thorough probe on the killings to ensure the criminals are brought to book,” Dr Kuti said.
The governor also wants a police post built in the area to beef up security and said his administration will support the process so as to ensure residents go on with their activities uninterrupted.
The latest attack comes nearly two weeks after a herdsman from Wajir was shot dead in the same area with officials saying it could be retaliatory.
Last November, a herdsman from Wajir was shot dead in an attack near Urura watering point said to have been ignited by control over the resource.
Early that month, two people from Bassa in Isiolo were shot and seriously injured by suspected bandits from Wajir following clashes over a grazing field.