More than 85 people have been killed and 100 others seriously injured following an inter-clan conflict between two warring communities in Kenya's northern town of Mandera since March 2012, the UN relief agency said on Friday.
A report released in Nairobi on Friday by the UN office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) shows an estimated 25, 000 others have been displaced in the clashes involving Degodia and Garre communities. "Humanitarian needs however continue to emerge as more people flee their homes and livelihoods, in apprehension of revenge attacks," OCHA Eastern Africa said in its latest report on the ethnic clashes in northern Kenya.
Major towns in northern Kenya namely Garissa, Wajir and Mandera have experienced recurrent explosives, some claiming human lives since the country's cross border military incursion into Somalia to pursue members of the Somali Islamist militant group, who were blamed for abduction and incursion into the country.
The incessant conflict in the two counties pitting rival clans of Garre and Degodia has so far claimed the lives of more than 50 lives this year and paralyzed transport to and from in the two areas.
Tension and conflict between the two communities have historically resulted from competition for natural resources, but recently the emerging tensions are attributed to political disagreements over governance issues under the new devolution structures.
The area has been unstable since the March general elections in which the Garre community received most of the elective seats.
The two clans, who both have clan presences in the bordering Ethiopian region, are accusing each other of hiring militias across the border to be engaged in the killings.
In 2008 the government was forced to use the military to quell bloody clashes that claimed more than 40 people and displaced thousands of other in Mandera-East district residents.
But OCHA which says cumulative figure of the affected and displaced people will be shared after the ongoing assessment mission in the area noted that the government has prepositioned food supplies in Mandera and distribution will be done with the help of the County government.
"Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) and partners are providing both food and non-food items to the affected population. Security personnel have been deployed to the area to restore peace and disarm the communities," says the report.
"Current response gaps are in shelter, food, and medication. Schools in Banisa that were closed due to flooding remain closed. A number of trucks carrying humanitarian supplies to Mandera are stuck en-route from Wajir due to insecurity."
According to the report, worst affected are Wajir County, Banisa and Rhamu constituencies, with reports of emerging tensions between the relatives of the two communities across the border in Ethiopia.
On Thursday, the Kenyan government it has deployed more security officers in its northern frontiers with Ethiopia and Somalia to help curb inter-ethnic clashes.
Interior and Coordination of National Government Cabinet Secretary Joseph Ole Lenku said more police officers will be deployed in Mandera and Wajir counties "We have sent more police officers to the troubled counties and given them all the necessary equipment they require and we are very sure that we will experience some good, peaceful situation in both counties," Lenku said.
The KRCS and partners are providing humanitarian assistance amidst the current access and operational constraints.
Worst affected are areas in Wajir County, Banisa and Rhamu Constituencies.
In Rhamu, 12 people were killed and six others seriously injured following seven separate incidents of armed attack in early June.
"An estimated 7,000 people and an unidentified number of livestock were displaced from the area resulting in massive disruption of community livelihoods," OCHA said.
It noted that most of the communities have since returned but are still dependant on humanitarian assistance as their livelihoods were destroyed.
In Banisa, 20 people, including four children, died in two attacks on June 22-23 and several others, including a one-year-old who suffered gun shots, were seriously injured in the attacks in Guba and Choroqo villages.
According to the report, more than 20 houses were torched in the early morning attacks and the entire population in the two villages has reportedly fled from the area.
A rapid needs assessment conducted by relief agencies estimate that over 6,000 households (over 20,000 individuals) are now hosted by relatives in the relatively safer regions of Banisa, Mandera North, Mandera Central and Mandera West Counties. Of the 4, 000 IDP households in Banisa, 430 arrived on June 23. Food and commodity prices in Banisa are reportedly over 100 percent higher, leading to fears of emerging food insecurity in the area.
Banisa has been inaccessible due to recent flooding. Farms and homes have been abandoned and this has also had a negative impact on education, with an estimated 4,184 children from 16 primary schools and 1,453 Early Childhood Development (ECD) program in Banisa out of school.
The conflict has reportedly resulted in tensions among relatives of affected communities in Ethiopia, as both communities mobilize support from their relatives across the border.