MOYALE, KENYA: Armed militia Wednesday morning attacked three cars among them a lorry less than 10 kilometres from Moyale town and cut off Kenya from Ethiopia as the Gabra- Borana conflict intensifies. Wednesday marked the eighth day in which the battle, which has also has cut off the border town from the rest of the country, has seen road transport come to a standstill. The dawn attack saw at least three people seriously injured and have been admitted to Moyale district hospital. Gun shots could be heard from Moyale town from 7.30 am till 9am. “The militias have thrown at least three grenades this morning. They are well armed and we cannot just go after them blindly. They are sparing no one, not even the police,” a security officer based at the Moyale police station told the Standard as he prepared for the counter attack. But by 10am, police were yet to respond. There are currently parts of the road between Moyale and Marsabit where a Gabra cannot pass and others where a Borana will be killed. This morning, the handful of vehicles that attempted to leave the town unsuccessfully were not carrying people from the ‘hostile’ communities depending on the destination of the vehicles. “The militias seem keen to stop movement on the road. It is only recently that we have seen them turn on the motorists, cutting off sections of the road. Mostly the fights were in the wilderness,” the officer said. It is also feared that the militia may be targeting to take hostage of some manyattas. Locals say the militias are increasingly getting emboldened due to the slow response of police. This has been seen them hit close to town. The Gabra- Borana conflict has seen more than 800 households displaced, several houses torched over the past six months. The Standard has learnt that all the five communities have their own militia to protect them from ‘external aggression’ in what is making reconciliation initiatives fail to take off. “We have plans to take opinion leaders and village elders of the warring communities to a neutral place like Isiolo to allow them to talk to one another and call truce,” Mr John Kipsiwa, the Assistant County Commissioner said in an interview.Most area politicians have fled Moyale as the conflict comes closer to the town. But it is the renewed conflict that over the past one week that has left security officers overwhelmed. About ten buses have been grounded with hundreds of passengers stranded at the border town. Moyale borders Ethiopia town and it is a major gateway into Marsabit County and the rest of the North eastern region. Locals blame politics and a land dispute as the causes of conflict that has also seen several cars burnt. This comes at a time when parts of Turkana County have been under attack in a new trend where militia cut off roads, locking out supplies and traders from moving into and out of particular places.
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