CS Kindiki closes Marsabit mines after 7 killed in week of gang violence

Interior CS Kithure Kindiki in Garissa on March 5, 2024.

Interior CS Kithure Kindiki in Garissa on March 5, 2024.

Photo credit: Manase Otsialo | Nation Media Group

Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki has ordered the closure of a mining site in Marsabit County where seven people were killed in gang violence this week.

Prof Kindiki also gazetted the Dabel artisanal mining site as dangerous and disturbed.

The CS said the move followed consultation with the National Security Council.

“In exercise of the powers conferred by section 106 (1) of the National Police Service Act, 2011, the Cabinet Secretary for Interior and National Administration, in consultation with the National Security Council, declares the following parts and areas of Marsabit County as disturbed and dangerous areas, namely, the Mining sites within the general Hillo Areain Dabel Location of Golbo Division,” Prof Kindiki said.

The mining sites are Hillo Gorgora, Hillo Orofa, Hillo Walkite, Hillo Tanzania, Hillo Irress Abamartille, Hillo Gootu, Hillo Tessum Qalicha, Hillo Karray, Hillo Hudda, Hillo QQoranjido, Hillo Iress Shindia, Hillo Rabaalee and Hillo Godde Haroressa.

No person is to be found in the areas “at any time from the date hereof without written authority from the County Police Commander of Marsabit County.”

For 30 days

The order took effect from 6.30am on Thursday for 30 days “and may be withdrawn, varied, continued or otherwise altered as appropriate and as the Cabinet Secretary may direct.”

The measures, Prof Kindiki said, followed a series of serious security breaches at the Dabel Artisinal Mining sites, and were aimed at ending the escalation of violence and other criminal activities in the area.

The area has been overrun by armed criminals who facilitate the trafficking of narcotics, he said.

He regretted that seven people, including two foreigners, had been killed this week in gang rivalries among illegal artisanal miners in the area.

Cases of rape, defilement and gender-based violence have also been reported.

A special team from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) has taken over investigations to identify and arrest the perpetrators, the CS said.

“As such, the Gazetted areas remain under the domination of National security agencies and no access to, or activity of any nature whatsoever is permitted in the said areas during the pendency of the orders herein,” he warned.

The Dabel site has been plagued by frequent insecurity as a result of mining activities, sometimes pitting local communities against their Ethiopian counterparts.