THE GHARRI EXPERIENCE
THE GHARRI EXPERIENCE
Abdulwahab .H. Korre and D.A.Hassan
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.
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
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.
feelings no longer have any room in the whole tragedy.
in the region has totally disrupted socioeconomic programmes of the people and
severely affected traditional coping mechanism of nomadic pastoralists.
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
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.
share Wajir north constituency and unlike other Somali clans have some close
resemblance with the Boran and also speak both Somali and Borana dialect.
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
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
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
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.
ANALYSIS OF THE REGION AND THE PEOPLE:
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.
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
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
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.
CAUSES OF GHARRI – AJURAN
In 1978 New Identity Cards were issued to all
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
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
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;
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;
Giving Gharri a nominated councilor in Bute and
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
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
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
Hajji Issack Ahmed Kiti
Hajji Abdullahi Nurow
Hajj Nurow Bake
Hussein Abdi Dika
Haji Salah Mustafa
Nura Mohamed Abdi
Maalim Aliow Chiwta
Hassan Maalim Moh’d
Aliow Hussein Gedi
Hajji Adow Ibrahim
Salah Maalim Issak
Dayow Adan Hassan
Hajji Mohamed Ali
Hajji Musa Ibrahim
Edinow Hassan Ibrahim
Mohamed Maalim Issak
Maalim Issak Adan 1
Edaw Mohamed Abdi
4 other plot whose owners were not present.
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.
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.
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
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;
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
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.
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?
EFFORTS TO BRING PEACE:
ON 6TH APRILS 2000;
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:
Peace Baraza Held At Butte
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.
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
Mohamed Hassan Obole
1) Bashey Ahmed
2) Abdi Chachana
3) Osman Ali Abdi
4) Abdisalam Mohamed (Kala)
5) Abdi Adan (Abdow)
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
33 delegates from Mandera
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.
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
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
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
Another meeting stated for31st march 2001 to Discuss resettlement
of Gharri from Butte and Gurar.
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.
Ajuran alliance with OLF, which had caused fear and
despondency among the Gharri’s.
Gharri people have been deprived of basic rights such as
access to water and pasture at Gurar.
denied the right to acquire identity cards in Bute sub-district.
Dispute over Ires teno which is polically and administratively
part of Mandera district,
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
Killing of many Gharri people in the area with no arrests
Ajurans want Wajir north exclusively to themselves
Ajuran politicians inciting their clansmen against Gharri
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.
AJURAN CONFLICT ANALYSIS
Gharri- Ajuran conflict has been characterized by a number of factors and there
is a clear interaction between Greed and Grievance.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
OUTCOME OF GHARRI-AJURAN CONFLICT:
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.
There were violent private accumulations at the local level. Cattle
rustling and erection of illegal barrier at karigola for Gharri vehicles is a
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,
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
Creation of private militias to defend
oneself for Garri and Ajuran. This was necessitated by the failure of the
government to provide security
Gharri people have been subjected to extreme exploitation,
violence and famine
Gharri have fallen below the law while
Ajurans got the law’s protection
Labeling Gharri people as militias and expansionists to
limit their right to own property and live in Wajir north.
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
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
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
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,
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;
Establishment of a commission of inquiry into the clashes
between Gharri and Ajuran. With the following terms of references.
and arresting all those involved in fueling the clashes
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
ways and means of increasing benefits of peaceable activities eg through
attaching relief aid and development project to peace.
legal and or moral impunity enjoyed by violent groups e.g. through publicizing
abuses, initiating judicial proceedings etc
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.
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
Ø Damages to the property and losses of live both human and livestock should be compensated for the Gharri people