BY Abdulwahab .H. Korre and D.A.Hassan

 Edited, elaborated and reprinted by Isaac Omar


Peace and security are perenninial issues for mankind. However insecurity in the northern part of Kenya has grown out of proportion and poses a serious threat to the very survival of the society and the nation.  The problem of peace and security in this region is increasingly becoming complex by day so much so that everyone, from the government to the common person has become confused and helpless. The mass media carries horrifying news of conflicts, Violence and crime in every part of Northern Kenya. We have an appalling picture of communities and tribes trying to destroy each other and everything in their environment. In this year alone hundreds of people have been killed in senseless tribal- cum-clan animosities in Isiolo, Moyale, Mandera, Wajir and Garissa.

In Isiolo over 50 people have died, houses razed and thousands of livestock stolen in skirmishes between the Boran, Somalia and Merus. In Moyale many people have died and many others are going about matters of their daily lives under very fearful and suspicious circumstances due to the triangular feud pitting Gharri, Boran and Gabra against each other.

Gharri and Ajuran militias who are pitted against each other have turned the border between Mandera and Wajir in to a battleground. In Garissa the Aulihan and Abudwak are squaring it out leaving behind them terror and destruction.

The entire history of independent Kenya for the past three and a half decades has seen the northern part of the country vulnerable to natural calamities and other contingencies. Many families are yet to recover from the vicious cycle of droughts and El Nino effect of 1997. Education as seen from the National Examinations performance is always the poorest in the whole nation. Armed banditry, cattle rustling and clan warfare has become the trademark of the region. Cases of human rights abuses have been documented now and again though not exhaustively.

Life or survival itself has become meaningless in the whole of northern Kenya. Feuds, banditry and general insecurity have turned the people of this region into virtual paupers. The common scenario one comes across is images of men like skeleton clad in torn old clothes. You could hear cries and moans from pain and hunger in almost every village you pass through. Rattling from the throats of dying persons and faint voices from severely malnourished children who have become so weak that their moaning could hardly be heard would move you to tears. Occasionally you come across dying animals scattered here and there. Somewhere you come across graves of the people killed when whole villages were attacked and mostly innocent women, Children and aged are killed; stories abound of areas where people cannot graze their animals because of insecurity hence move long distances to search for pasture, water and peaceful environment. Some succumb to hardship along the way and die. Stories abound of women and children left behind alone as the stronger members of the community plod on to survival.

Emotional feelings no longer have any room in the whole tragedy.

Insecurity in the region has totally disrupted socioeconomic programmes of the people and severely affected traditional coping mechanism of nomadic pastoralists.

Everyone seems conscious of the gravity of the situation, yet no solution is in view, in spite of tall talks and pious wishes expressed repeatedly by makers of public opinion.

What do we do as a society? Do we sit and listen as mere spectators and hope for the miracle to come in the end? Or shall we and can we do something to bring a happy solution and thus save our society from the impending disaster?

Something must be done because instability in Northern Kenya will beget instability in the whole nation –just like a person sentenced to death would welcome quick execution in order to rest, the people of Northern Kenya are yearning for a lasting peace.

This is why compelled by the desire to publicize abuses in order to reduce legal and moral impunity enjoyed by violent groups in Northern Kenya,

I have concentrated on the Gharri –Ajuran conflict that started in 1993 to date (2001). A record 8 years of confusion, mistrust, violence, fear, suspicion murder, pillage, and exploitations. Gharri and Ajuran are two Somali clans living in North Eastern Kenya.  

They share Wajir north constituency and unlike other Somali clans have some close resemblance with the Boran and also speak both Somali and Borana dialect.

This particular conflict has been used to represent   the characteristic clan clashes in Northern Kenya because there is very high degree of homogeneity in local and immediate functions of violence in the region:

There is also similarity in all the clashes in the region in as far as vested interests in chaos and ethnic strife is concerned. The entire region also suffers from insecurity mainly because of the failure of the state to provide economic security, which has also been translated into failure to provide physical security. Nearly all the clashes in Northern Kenya begin with one murder, which attracts reprisal within a few weeks involving a hundred deaths. Most of the inter-tribal murders are committed by young men for the sake of getting from their people the credit for having avenged some other crimes and it fellows that people living in the same villages as the murderers (and probably many of their Neighbors) know perfectly well- or could find out if they wished to do so – who is responsible for the crime. On many occasions the track of murderers can be definitely followed to a certain village and it is often reasonable to assume that the people of the village know, or could know if they so desired, who were the perpetrators of the crime – why the government agents could not follow these leads is an open ended question.


The region in which the conflict was concentrated comprised of Butte, Gurar, and Danaba, which are mainly hilly with thorny scrub on pale dust, or colourful ironstone, or black lava desert. The landscape is broken with rocky outcrops and rugged hills that are infinitely green in the haze of distance. The first impression the visitor gets is that of emptiness, even desolation upon visiting the area, the vast herds of camels, cattle and sheep are rarely seen from the main roads and keep to the bush.

The population of the area according to the district development plan of 1997-2001 is projected to be 49,285 persons by 2001 the major communities living here are Gharri and Ajuran at ratio of almost 50:50

Butte is a sub district and comprise of 4 location and 6 sub locations out of which only 1 sub-chief is Gharri. Gurar division comprise of 4 locations and 5 sub-locations out of which only one chief and 1 sub-chief are Gharri.

Due to their high altitude Butte and Gurar receive higher rainfall, which enables rainfalls agriculture to be practiced. Both areas also have plenty of pasture through out the year that makes livestock carrying capacity to be higher. There are also several business opportunities in Butte sub- district. One can trade in livestock, transport, hotel/business and other private businesses.

The pattern of life in this region following tension between Gharri and Ajuran since 1993 was enlivened with the constant threat of raiding. For quite sometime Arson seemed to have been sanctioned. In the ethnic cleansing that intensified especially in the year 2000, burning houses and property became a matter of personal taste. Those who wanted to burn could do so, if they had the right forces behind them.

As arson reigned, murder too became a cheap thing. Those ‘’undesirables’’ who could not move out of the place where they were not wanted were either forcefully evicted or were killed. Respect for human life waned and no one cared about life anymore.


According to a letter from the officer in charge NFD, Moyale dated 30th September 1937 to the colonial secretary Nairobi found at Kenya National Archieves, Edo-Roble the Ajuran Head Chief was only accepted to move to Buna from Wajir and allowed to have any watering rights there in 1932,

This was because following Islam –Galla feud, it was agreed that Somalis should be separated from Galla hence Boranas were moved from Buna and Wajir.

According to Gharri records of 1912-1919 found at the National archives about September 1912, captain Aylmer took over administration of Gharri district (now Mandera), making his main camps at Gurar, Derkali and Malka Sala. Gurar was then part of Gharri District.

An inquiry into the death of a number of Gharri tribesmen on may 21st 1943 in Butte area in the district of Mandera shows clearly that some Ethiopian raiders killed 44 persons of Gharri tribe. The recorded evidence showed that it was only Gharri who were living in the area, the chief accompanying the investigation officer, sergeant Tatton Brown was Omar Adan Shaba a Gharri.

According to the Moyale political records of 1935, Ajuran continued to trespass in the Ogorchi area. Ogorchi is now a location, in Butte Sub-District. It was during the same period two Ajuran were killed near Challalaka (now Butte) for trespassing, patrols were used to push them to Wajir District.

Moyale political records of 1936 indicate that Ajuran were allowed in Ogorch area and alterations and rectifications made to the Somali line and Gharri grazing range.

In May 1936, the Boran wiped out the village of Abdullah Osman Jiraw a Gharri at Gurar.

All the above historical evidence show that the Gharri people have always living in Butte and Gurar, way back since the beginning of the 20th century. The evidence also shows that the Ajuran had always been confined to Wajir and at some point were not allowed to pass in Bute and Gurar. Today Gharri’s have 1561plots in the area, over 300 wells and over 3000 farms.  


In 1978 New Identity Cards were issued to all Kenyans, but the Gharri  community in Butte and Gurar were denied. They were told to get their Identity Cards from Mandera District i.e. Takaba and Elwak. During the time the elected Member of Parliament was an Ajuran, Hon. Ibrahim Ali   Hussein. Both Gharri and Ajuran elected him unanimously.

In the ensuing elections of 1979 Hon. Ahmed Khalif Mohamed who was a Degodia by tribe was elected the Member of Parliament for Wajir West constituency. The Gharri community voted for him as a block. This was highly resented by the Ajuran who felt that the area was their strong hold.

In the 1983 elections, for the first time a Gharri contested for a civic ward in Butte against an Ajuran called Chachana. Hon. Ahmed Khalif won again with the help of the Gharri community but unfortunately the Gharri man could not win the councillorship for Bute ward. Subsequently Ajuran community started clashes against the Gharri and the Degodia clans. This feud ended in bloody fight with dire consequences for all concerned, but worse especially for the Degodia clan. This dispute was finally resolved and peace prevailed.

In the 1988 elections, the Ajuran community requested and lobbied the Gharri community to vote alongside them for an Ajuran candidate claiming that both the Ajuran and Gharri were Neighbors and had lived together for many years. The Gharri community decided to vote for the Ajuran candidate Hon. Abdi Ibrahim (Takaw) who won the elections. This became a very big mistake for the Gharri community for the M.P embarked on a campaign in collaboration with Provincial Administration to move members of the Gharri community to Mandera District. All identity cards belonging to members of Gharri community were confiscated according to the elders and placed under custody of Bute chief and Gurar chief. Nine months later some identity cards were returned to the owners while most others were lost. 1983 about 99 members of Gharri community were arrested over a funeral ceremony with the pretext that they were holding an illegal meeting.

In 1992 elections, Gharri community decided to vote the Degodia candidate again because Ajuran MPs had proved to bring insecurity and suffering for the Gharri. Hon Ahmed Khalif won again. There was out break of clash again between Ajuran and Degodia and later the Ajuran fled to Ethiopia.

The Ajuran on returning from Ethiopia, it was claimed started looting Gharri livestock and attacking vehicles at Karigola area in Gurar along Mandera- Wajir – Moyale road,

According to reports entered in the daily occurrence book at Gurar police post, the Ajuran had set up an illegal barrier along Mandera – Moyale road in order to loot Gharri transport trucks, at Kari-Gola near Gurar, see the table below for details;

Events and date

Particular of vehicle

Cash /Good value


vehicle attacked at kari-Gola

Vehicle belongs to Gharri

Goods worth kshs 85,000/=

Cash kshs  31,000/=


vehicle attacked at kari-Goal

KAG  360

Belong to Garri

Cash kshs 7000/=

140 boxes shirts

400 pairs of sandless


vehicle attacked at kari-Gola

Belongs to Gharri

Cash kshs  96,000/=

3 belong of new clothes


vichicle attacked at kari-Gola

KQY 972 
Nyota belong M. Ali –Gharri.

Cash 39,500/=

Good worth  kshs  350,000/=

9/2/ 94  vehicle attacked at kari-gola

Belong to Gharri

Cash Kshs. 7000/=

Property belong to some


3/3/94 vichicle  attacked at bamba-Gurar

KZU 206   Hino belong to Hassan Adan Tache-Gharri

Cash kshs. 12000/=

4 watches,

2 I/DS


vichicle attacked at kari-Gola

Belong to  Alio hajji issack


 Cash kshs 18400/=

Women clothes

9/7/94 vechile attacked

at bamba-Garur

KAC 725Q  Driver Ahmed Al-kher  KAC 748

Driver Ibrahim Al-ibrahim

Alkher cash kshs 4000/=

Ibrahim  cash ksh 3000/=

Passenger kshs 200,000/=


at Bamba – Garura

KAA 320N

Cash  kshs. 22,000/=

American dollar $ 350/=

10/8/94  at bamba-Garur


KQZ 020 land rover driver

Abdille Adan  KAD299 K,


5 shirts,10 kiokois, 7 beds

sheets. Cash kshs,11,200/=



KAB 293 Z

Goods worth 20,000/=

5 seiko automatic watches worth kshs 89,000/=

On 18/9/95 two Gharri boys who were Bute residents were killed at karduse, 5km from Bute town. The boys killed were Mr. Enow Somo Hillow and Mr. Abdullahi Abdi Robow. Later again in the same year another Gharri boy was killed at Moyale – Bute border.  The Gharri pointed fingers at the Ajuran as having been behind the killings but did not revenge.

In the 1997 elections, the Gharri decided to give support to the Ajuran candidate, Hon. Abdullahi Ibrahim Ali who gave them two-election pledges. Gharri, it is alleged made Hon. Abdullahi to swear with the greatness of Allah in the presence of prominent Ajuran sheikh Ali Abdullahi that he would fulfill the promises which were;

(1)   Giving Gharri a nominated councilor in Bute and

 (2) Creation of sub location at Bute Godha for the Gharri  

After the elections Gharri submitted the name of Hajji Issak Ahmed Kiti for   the nominated councilor but Hon. Abdullahi failed to fulfill both promises and has not explained to the Gharri the cause of his failure, it was now quite evident that come the general elections, Gharri would definitely vote for someone else. It is alleged that on 26th September 1999. Hon. Abdullahi addressed a public baraza at the Gurar wells in the presence of D.O (Bute) Mr. Simba and OCS (Gurar police post) Mr. Kinywa and told his Ajuran people to buy guns and liberate their land from foreigners. Following the above inflammatory statement, its claimed that clan tension heightened and the first killing occurred on 11/3/2000 when one Gharri man Mr. Kalla Issak Mahad was killed brutally at Golba Diriba in Gurar. The incident is said to have been reported to OCS (Gurar) and D.O. (Bute).

This killing increased the tension between the Gharri and Ajuran as the boy was defaced, skinned and mutilated, it was a horrifying and spine-chilling episode that moved many Gharri into a combative mood. On 27/03/2000 four people were killed at Danaba wells and all of them were Gharri. They were; Adow Hillow, Mohamed Issak Tortore, Yusuf Shando Hussein and Maalim Mohamed. Those seriously injured were Diqaya Maalim Derow, Abdullahi Kontoma and Mohamed Edin Ali.

On 28/3/2000 two Gharri people, Ibrahim Aliow and Issak Hassanow Edin were also killed at Nanaw. All this time these killing were reported at the police but no action was taken, it is claimed that there was no investigation done at all.


By April 2000 the situation had become very tense and fearful. On 6th April 2000, the DC – Wajir, Fred Mutsami toured the conflict area together with the District Security Committee, they found the situation at Gurar very tense and all the residents had camped at the police station and two Ajurans had just been killed namely Zeinab Hassan Ahmed  “nugloy” and Abbey Abdow Mamad at Bamba about 5kms from Gurar town.

At Butte, the situation was even tenser. The entire resident in the town were camped at different sites, the Gharri camped at the Police Station and AP while the Ajuran camped at the Ap lane and Bute Arid-Zone Primary School. The fear was caused earlier in the day when an injured Ajuran girl was brought from Bamba.  In broad day light in the presence of the Government’s security personnel, several houses belonging to Gharri clansmen were demolished and 3 Gharri people were also killed. They were: - Fatuma Issak Jirow and Adow Issak Idow (wife and husband) and Abdullahi Maalim Abdi File. The Government security personnel’s failed to intervene and failed assists the Gharri victims.

It was under this circumstance that people lived and dwelt from police station and AP lines for almost 4 months. Traditional copying mechanisms were disrupted and no children were attending schools.

While staying at the police station it is alleged that Gharri witnessed their houses being demolished, burnt down or iron sheets looted in broad daylight in the presence of security personnel, and the security personnel did nothing to prevent it.  In total 35 houses were completely destroyed see the list below.  

NAMES OF OWNERS                      No of  plots             No  of   Rooms   

1.     Hajji Issack Ahmed Kiti        4 plots            12 Rooms

2.     Hajji Abdullahi Nurow         3 Plots                6 Rooms

3.  Hajj Nurow Bake                  3 Plots              10 Rooms

4.  Hussein Abdi Dika                    1 Plot             2 Rooms

5.  Haji Salah Mustafa                    1 Plot             2 Rooms       

6.  Nura Mohamed Abdi                 1 Plot               4 Rooms

7.  Maalim Aliow Chiwta                 1 Plot               2 Rooms

8.  Hassan Maalim Moh’d                1 Plot                4 Rooms

9.  Abukar Abdullahi                        2 Plots             5 Rooms

 10.  Aliow Hussein Gedi                    1 Plot               3 Rooms

 11.  Hajji Adow Ibrahim                    1 Plot               2 Rooms

 12.  Hassnow Hache                          1 Plot               2 Rooms

 13.  Salah Maalim Issak                     1 Plot               2 Rooms

 14.  Dayow Adan Hassan                    1 Plot               5 Rooms

 15.  Hajji Mohamed Ali                       1 Plot               7 Rooms

 16.  Abdullahi Hache                          1 Plot              12 Rooms

 17.  Hajji Musa Ibrahim                      1 Plot               2 Rooms

18.   Edinow Hassan Ibrahim                1 Plot               4 Rooms

19.   Mohamed Maalim Issak                1 Plot               5 Rooms

20.   Maalim Issak Adan                       1 Plot               2 Rooms

21.   Edaw Mohamed Abdi                     1 Plot               1 Rooms

22.   4 other plot whose owners were not present.

Between 17/6/2000-21/6/2000, using two government vehicles registration numbers GKZ 293 and GKZ 230, all the Gharri at Butte police station were shifted to Danaba area amid protest from them that Danaba was a remote location with only 4 Administration police officers and that their security could not be guaranteed at Danaba.

On 4th July 2000, over 200 suspected Ajuran bandits raided Danaba in broad day light killing 22 Gharri persons including 2 elderly men, 16 women and 4 children, 6 others were also injured. These killing have since been named the Danaba massacre.

On 18/10/2000, at a place called Kharsa Sare between Danaba and Iris Teno, two Gharri were killed again. They were Mohamed Ibren Ali and Kusow Sheikh Ali Gashan. Eight donkeys in the procession and goods they were carrying were all taken away.


The morning of 4th July 2000 began like any other normal day, for the people of the small remote Danaba location. The people who had been moved there two weeks earlier were struggling to settle back into their pastoral life. Morning prayers were performed as usual and animals were milked. The day looked quite and uneventful. Owing to the clashes situation the men spent the whole night guarding against any attacks from the Ajuran militias. In the morning all the strong members of the family took the animals out for grazing only women, children and the elderly were left behind. The administration police and other security agents also kept vigil the whole day.

It was at around 9am in the morning when all the men had left the villages for grazing the animals that hell broke loose. Unknown to the poor people at Danaba about 200 suspected Ajuran militia had surrounded the whole location living the only escape route towards Beloble on the left of Danaba when one is facing Gurar hills. This meant the villagers could not run towards Dandu for safety. The militias entered the Gharri village with military precision and without any haste; they opened fire against unarmed Gharri women, children and the elderly. it is alleged that they did not attempt to shoot at the direction of the security agencies and likewise the Kenyan government security agencies did not attempt to shoot at them. Many women and children ran back into their makeshift shanties; for safety. Unfortunately, it was inside those shanties, that some of them were burnt alive.

Those burnt inside their houses included a family of six. A 9 months old boy, shaban was shot while in his mothers arms with the same bullet that killed his mother. Brain and the stomach contents were strawn all over.

A mentally sick elderly lady was locked inside a house that was later set on fire, she escaped through some opening in the wall while her clothes were on fire. However, She was gunned down before she could go far. The smoke screenfrom the fire could be seen several kilometers away. The mayhem took almost five hours; without any interception by the Kenya government security personnel that was stationed there. At the end of it

all, 22 people were dead including 2 elderlymen, 16 women and 4childern, all these people were buried at Takaba;

The Ajuran claim that;

On 28th may 2000; Ahmed jimale was attacked at Adadi ijole location along Kenya –Ethiopia border, the attackers were suspected to be from Ethiopia 

On 30th may 2000; suspected attackers from Ethiopia attacked Yusuf Ali and Hassan osman Ali at Dugo location.


On 4th June 2000, suspected bandits attacked Qeyramsa a village near Gurar and killed one Ali Ibrahim and injured AbdiHakim osman.  It is claimed that over 400 herds of cattle were rustled.

 On 8th June, Ajuran people claimed that their livestock at Diniko was raided and 5000 cattle together with 9000 camels driven away. The Entire Ajurana clan do not own fraction of the animals they claimed to have been stolen from one village. So, their claim is nothing more than baseless propaganda. Two boys were also killed; Abdi Ibrahim Kassim and mohamed adan.

On 10th June 2000; at Gariyaya near Gurar town 4 people were killed. On 16th June 2000 a manyatta at katama in Gurar was attacked Hefei Adow was killed. On 25th June 2000 5 Ajurans were killed at Gurar and 5 others injured. On 7th July 2000; 3 Ajurans killed at Adadile, 500 camels looted. On 10th July 200; 200 Ajurans cattle take away from Godoma

On 19th July 2000, 5 Ajuran killed at Bamba village on the slopes of Gurar hills. But, The Gharri people were not involved in the above killings, and were not charged or accused of having been involved in such crimes, either by the Kenyan government or by the Ethiopian. So, why the Ajurana people are taking their frustrations on the Gharri people, whom are nothing to do with their losses?



The Dc Wajir, Fred Mutsami followed by members of his district security committee toured the conflict area.

The Dc assured people at ajawa that more security personell would arrive to beef up the security,

At Gurar, the Dc assured the residents of enough security. He also promised the security personnel in the area who had complained of logistical problems that their problems would be solved

ON 7TH APRIL 2000,

The Wajir District security committee (DSC) met the Mandera DSC and a meeting was held with Bute Sub-DSC. Elders from Mandera and Wajir were made to meet under the Chairmanship of the District Commisioner. The DC (Mandera) Mr. James Ole Serian appealed to leaders to be patient and show good example to their subjects. He said clan wars never had winners but losers only. He urged on the need for frequent meeting between the people from the two districts.

On 8th April 2000:

A Peace Baraza Held At Butte

The two D.Cs asked the two communities to co-exist together peacefully and share the little resources in the area properly. They promised to meet any act of insecurity with full force of the Government and that nobody will be spared regardless of their status in the community.

Six members from each clan were selected to act on peace in the area. The D.C Mr. Fred Mutsami said, “What I witnessed at Butte was shameful and barbaric and should not be repeated at all cost”.

Selected Gharri Elders were:-

1)     Adan Abdullahi Ali

2)     Roble Hassan Kura

3)     Haji Salah Musdafa Omar

4)     Issak Guracha Mohammed

5)     Abdullahi Haji Mohamed

6)     Mohamed Hassan Obole

Ajuran Elders:-

1)     Bashey Ahmed

2)     Abdi Chachana

3)     Osman Ali Abdi

4)     Abdisalam Mohamed (Kala)

5)     Abdi Adan (Abdow)

6)     Sheikh Mohamed Ali

4th-5th August 2000

NEP leaders conference was organized by the government at Wajir Girls Secondary School.

This meeting was attended by: -

          i.            Provincial Security Committee, led by the PC Mr. Maurice Makhanu.

        ii.            The four District security committees.

      iii.            Eleven M.Ps of NEP except Hon. Keynan.

      iv.            83 delegates from Wajir District.

        v.            18 delegates from Garissa

      vi.            5 delegates from Ijara

    vii.            33 delegates from Mandera

The PC opened the meeting and asked the participants to deliberate on the only agenda of the meeting which was; The Conflict Between The Ajuran And Gurreh Communities Of Wajir North. The PC also asked leaders to strive to make peace and to stop blaming civil servants or the PC on insecurity.

The PC acknowledged that there were many illegal arms in the area and also there existed private clan militia in the area and he also called on leaders to stop inciting communities against each other and he asked the people of NEP to shun clanism.

6th and 7th January 2001

Ajuran elders and those of the Gharri met at Elwak sub-district where they declared immediate cease-fire. This initiative was funded by Oxfam./Arid land

21st and22nd January 2001,also funded by Oxfam/Arid land

Ajurans elders and Gharri elders meet at Bute Nomadic primary school. Wajir and Mandera District security committee attended.


Ø     Sharing of pasture and water in Bute and Gurar

Ø     Gharri to stop attacks from Ethiopia

Ø     Ajurans to open up Mandera –moyale road

Ø     Ajurans to stop attacks from Bute

Ø     Another meeting stated for31st march 2001 to Discuss resettlement of Gharri from Butte and Gurar.


q       Gharri businessmen from Mandera had been robbed several times between Gurar and Danaba at a place known as kari-gola Ajurans had opened a toll station in the area.

q       Ajuran alliance with OLF, which had caused fear and despondency among the Gharri’s.

q       Gharri people have been deprived of basic rights such as access to water and pasture at Gurar.

q       Gharri denied the right to acquire identity cards in Bute sub-district.

q       Dispute over Ires teno which is polically and administratively part of Mandera district,

q       Gharri denied ample representation in leadership in the area i.e chiefs and councilors out of 14 chiefs only 1 is Garri and out of 18 sub- chiefs only 1 is Gharri

q       Killing of many Gharri people in the area with no arrests being made

q       Ajurans want Wajir north exclusively to themselves

q       Ajuran politicians inciting their clansmen against Gharri

q       Creation of Butte –sub districtin 1996 heightened Ajuran hatred for Gharri because of their numbers in the area. Despite the Gharri people’s Grievances, the Kenyan Government has done nothing so far.


·        Gharris came to the Bute in 1979 after being declared vagrant from Moyale District,

·        Gharris invited their clanmen from Wajir, Moyale, and Mandera, Ethiopia to come and settle in Bute.

·        Gharris Grabbing land in Bute

·        Gharris resorting to highway robbery along Wajir- Moyale roads

·        Gharris occupying Moyale, Wajir, Mandera hence severing links between Ajurans and neighboring communities,

·        Gharris claim over iresteno

·        Gharris are expansionists

·        Gharris have dual citizenship both for Kenya and Ethiopia

·        Ajuran not allowed in Ethiopia whenever weather and grazing is not good on the Kenya side.

·        Gharris want to take Bute and Gurar, which has fertile Agricultural land.

 However, the Ajurana’s claims and grievances could not be supported and substantiated by both present day Kenyan records and Colonial era area reported file records. Therefore, all the facts and evidences are supporting the Gharri claims, not the Ajuran.



The Gharri- Ajuran conflict has been characterized by a number of factors and there is a clear interaction between Greed and Grievance.

One thing that is very clearly coming out from the analysis of the conflict is that there was serious break down in law and order and breakdown in chains of command,

On 6th April 2001 at Bute in the presence of the District security committee including the DC Mr Fred mutsami and other security personell, Ajuran militias killed three Gharri people and several Gharri houses were touched. The DC later visited one of the houses burnt belonging to ALIO Hussein Gedi and also attended the burial ceremony of those killed, but, No arrest were made

The DC was later quoted as having said that the two clans should solve their problem amicably in a clear indication that the government had failed to maintain law and order, the DC also admitted that what he witnessed in Bute was shameful and Barbaric. The DC appeared helpless.

On 4th July 2000, in broad day light and in full view of the security agencies, Danaba Gharri Village was raided by Ajuran militias, They left behind them an orgy of violence and destruction, at the end, 22 Gharri people lost their lives and no arrest were made, this became the Danaba massacre.

On November 30th 2000 suspected militias from Ethiopia attacked and besieged Wajir outpost at   Gurar for over six hours 9 members of the Ajuran community were shot dead,

The area was attacked in the wee hours of the morning, the Kenya security agencies were over powered, and the attackers torched several houses and injured several people.

This became the Gurar massacre; the North Eastern PC Mr. Mourice makhanu led a contigent of press reporters to the area on December 2nd, 2000 and confirmed that the attackers were Ethiopia forces. Inspite of his promise to beef up security, two days later on December 5th 2000

100 ajuran militias attacked Dandu Divisional headquaters, which are a few kilometres from Wajir- Mandera boarder. Administration police at the station killing 6 of them repulsed these attackers and injuring several others, one assault rifle was also said to have been recovered.

So, why the Ajurana militias were attacking the Gharri herds people when their very own government official was confirming that their attackers were Ethiopian forces? Because, their main agenda is to loot the Gharri herds and get rich fast. Therefore, all the Ajuranas claims of looted animals and number of people killed are not come close to fractions of what they claimed.

Two weeks later the minister in charge of internal security, Hon. Major (rtd) marsden madoka issued a statement blaming the killings and   the clashes between Gharri and Ajuran communities on local politicians from the area. He also revealed that among the six bandit killed in Dandu was a brother to a Wajir MP and the other a brother to a local chief after they had attemped to storm an administration police post in search of guns.

(See East African standard, page 5, December 18th, 2000)

Between 4th –5th August 2000, a leaders peace conference was organized at Wajir and the PC; mr mourice makhanu reduced the whole issue to a conflict between Gharri and Ajuran communities. He absolved the Government from blame but he acknowledged that there were many illegal firearms in the area and that the government was unable to contain the situation.

On  22nd January at Bute sub- District it was resolved at a peace meeting between the two communities that a resettlement meeting for those families who fled Bute and Gurar in July 2000, to be slated for march 31st 2001. 6 months down the road this meeting has not taken place.

One of the KANU election pledge was that; the forces of law and order will be strengthened’’ its mainfesto also claim that; KANU also believes that the greatest human right is the right to life itself,” During the clashes, the Govt failed in both maintaining law and order and also protecting human life. There is evidence that the provincial Administration kept the lid on the long standing clan rivalry between Gharri and Ajuran which re-surfaced in form of clashes in the absence of strong law enforcement wing.

Owing to the nature of the the raids and murder in the northern region where one murder may easily cause reprisals within a few weeks involving several deaths, the Govt security apparatus failed to act quick enough to contain the situation. The Administration instead showed panic and excitement. There was general tendency of lethargy right from the beginning eg.

·        Police relied mainly on chiefs and home guards whose impartiality in such matters is highly suspect.

·        There was lack of energy and skills in connections with the investigations

·        There was delay over the preliminary inquiry or insufficient care in conducting it.

·        Failure to pursue the matter once the offenders could not be apprehended at the outset.

The Govt cannot escape blame for the conflict between Gharri and Ajuran because our constitution is uncompromising in matters of upholding the sanctity of human life and legally acquired property. Kenyans have also been encouraged to live in harmony with each other and own property anywhere in the republic.

The Gov't should therefore be pinned down on this conflict because many Ajuran and Gharri children lost their parents in the killings. Many wives lost their husbands and many families lost their sole breadwinners. Many others were impoverished after all their livestock were taken away. Many school going children lost their opportunity to continue with their education.

The two warring communities are taxpayers and have placed at the Govt disposal enough resources to either stop the clashes before they started or stopped them as soon as they started.

The Govt had the machinery to stop the clashes. The Govt is in control of an efficient security intelligence arm and also it has a respected, efficient and experienced armed forces, none of these were used to defend the lives and property of innocent Gharri people of Wajir North who have been killed and maimed by the Ajurana militias.

Clanism is definitely not a factor in the Gharri Ajuran conflict because both Gharri and Ajuran have been able to live together peacefully for many decades; clanism was therefore shaped by the conflict but not the other way round. There was proliferation of clan militias who turned to brutal attacks and ill treatment of unarmed people of this or that clan depending on which clan the militias belonged to, this situation went on uncontrolled and later graduated into an orgy of senseless and mindless violence and killing.

The Gharri-Ajuran conflict was aimed at disrupting the economy of the people of Wajir North, for both Gharri and Ajuran. Those perpetrating and benefiting from insecurity are local actors of Ajurana politicians and who are seeking to bolster their powers and privileges by forcing politics along clan lines. They are also interested in controlling businesses in the area. They would like to cover their evil designs by occupying the common man with the war psychology so that they stop thinking of their daily problems of manipulation, hunger and unemployment.

Gharri-Ajuran conflict was calculated to maintain and retain the status quo politically and wipe out small business traders who could not risk investing in war torn environment and who could not recoup once impoverished through looting; for example the violence helped arouse the Ajuran nationalism which blinded the Ajuran populace from seeing the fact that the Ajuran MP was from Garen sub-clan and 99% of Ajuran in administrative posts as chiefs, DOs and DCs are all Garen. 99% of rich businessmen in Ajuran community are also all Garen. The conflict effectively pacified the Gelberis, Wakle, and Abdi migit the sub-clans of Ajuran, from concentrating on these problems.  They were shown that Gharries were their enemies whiles their real enemies were unemployment, nakedness, hunger and exploitation.

 The violence was also aimed at undermining economic privileges of the Garris such as land ownership, participation in transport, wholesale and farming business Many Gharries were forced to flee their plots and farms and Gharri vehicles were effectively blocked from plying Mandera, Wajir, Moyale roads. Most Gharri people decided to get armed because it was safer to be in an armed band than outside one because of repeated armed attacks against them.

During the conflict, Gharri people struggled to reverse dramatically the prolonged dorminance and humiliation that had prevailed upon them over the years, they were for example questioning why they were denied appointments as chiefs, assistant chief etc in the area and why their youths born in Bute were being denied identity cards,

Ajurans on the other hand were motivated to fight by what they considered their fear of Garri dominance over them and anger. They were excited at having an opportunity to revenge past wrong doings against there lot. Some also were interested in the war because they could get an opportunity to acquire land, property and livestock, others derived pleasure in ritual humiliation of the mighty Gharri.politicians in Northern Kenya in general are rich people with a lot of personal wealth representing severely improverished constituents; need and greed therefore makes the other members of their community give them blind loyalty. This enable them behave like warlords, which prolonged the sequence of violence. They drummed up violence to deflect real or imagined political threat. They (Ajurana militias) were supported in their   mission by the government, ruling class and provincial administration. As the violence escalated, these politicians became unpopular and were rendered unable to control their followers- this was the reason why to a large extent the violence between Gharri and Ajuran was prolonged and there were a lot of difficulties in bring it to an end.



v    Widespread destitution of Gharri families who were ferried to Danada from Butte, those people who fled Gurar to katama, Dhokisu, Moyale, Mandera and Qaddaduma also became virtual paupers.

v    There were violent private accumulations at the local level. Cattle rustling and erection of illegal barrier at karigola for Gharri vehicles is a good example.

v    Plundering of the common person fleeing the effects of conflict

v    The conflict created scarcities in good and services which drove various groups inc luding government officials, traders and politicians into making some extra income through pillage

v    Trade was monopolized. Certain wealthy business tycoons enjoying political patronage subjected trading rivals to threats and constraints hence continue to make exorbitant profits.

v    Ban on movement of lorries and heavy commercial vehicles through the region have enriched government officials who allow breaches of these restrictions.

v    Trade in gun and drugs have flourished in the area following a breakdown in the state control,

v    The conflict has led to the near depopulation of tracts of land in Bute and Gurar formerly occupied by the Gharri allowing Ajurans to stake a claim   to land and water and pasture resources.

v    Creation of private militias to defend oneself for Garri and Ajuran. This was necessitated by the failure of the government to provide security

v    Gharri people have been subjected to extreme exploitation, violence and famine

v    Gharri have fallen below the law while Ajurans got the law’s protection

v    Labeling Gharri people as militias and expansionists to limit their right to own property and live in Wajir north.

v    Accusation of Gharri as collaborating with the Ethiopian government in arms importation so as to use such accusation as legitimacy for wide spread exploitation and putting them at loggerheads with government of Kenya.

v    Deflection of discontent of the Ajuran community, (socio-economically) and turning their frustrations against Gharri people.

We, members of the Gharri clan from Butte and Gurar in Kenya,

AWARE THAT-- it is the constitutional and moral responsibility of the government to maintain peace and security for all its citizen,

But the Government failed to do so, for many Gharri people.

WE RECOGNISING: -That a lasting solution to the clan clashes in North Eastern depend on the creation of a peace that takes account of the desire and grievances that drove people to fighting in the first place,

WE CONVINCED: - that socio economic and cultural development can only be achieved in an environment of peace and unity.

WE, THE GHARRI PEOPLE RE- AFFIRMING: our total commitment to peaceful co-existence among all Kenyans any where in the republic

Wish to pray for the following;


Ø      Establishment of a commission of inquiry into the clashes between Gharri and Ajuran. With the following terms of references.

·       Identifying and arresting all those involved in fueling the clashes

·       Identifying ways and means of reducing the economic benefits of those behind the violence eg. Through imposing sanctions on all the traders who sustained the clashes

·       Identifying ways and means of increasing benefits of peaceable activities eg through attaching relief aid and development project to peace.

·       Reducing legal and or moral impunity enjoyed by violent groups e.g. through publicizing abuses, initiating judicial proceedings etc

Ø     Our constitution is uncompromising in matters of upholding the sanctity of legally acquired property and Kenyans are free to own property and settle anywhere in the republic and live harmoniously with their neighbors. Those Gharri people who were moved by the government from their homes and all those who were forced to flee their homes must be resettled back to their homes unconditionally and their safety ensured by the government. If this does not happen it means Gharri and Ajuran will remain enemies permanently which negates the Nyayo philosophy of peace, love and unity.

Ø     The Gharri people have always done everything they can to admit themselves into the socio- political mainstream of the government and have always supported the government of the day and have not only given their government mandate to safeguard their lives and property but sacrificially pay taxes to enable the government to do so. The government must therefore accept full responsibility for failing to stop the clashes on time and apologies to the Gharri people.

Ø     Damages to the property and losses of live both human and livestock should be compensated for the Gharri people 










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