by Peter Mutai
December 5, 2014
NAIROBI, At least 310 people have been killed, 214 others injured and about 220,177 people displaced in inter-communal clashes in Kenya since January this year, a UN agency said Friday.
The UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Eastern Africa said the main areas of conflict are in northern Kenya as well as some parts of western and coastal regions.
“The reasons given for the inter-communal conflicts are revenge attacks, competition over land and water resources, cattle rustling, and struggles over political representation,” OCHA said in a report issued in Nairobi on Friday.
The UN humanitarian agency said the figures have sharply increased in 2014 due to increase in number and frequency of droughts leading to resource based clashes.
Mandera County near the border with Somalia has particularly suffered from struggles over political representation and its proximity to both the Somalia and Ethiopian borders.
“Violent conflicts involving pastoralists have become widespread and increasingly severe in the northern Rift Valley and north-eastern regions of Kenya,” OCHA said in the report.
Local authorities are working with the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) and other humanitarian partners to deliver both food and non-food assistance to those displaced or affected by the clashes.
Kenyan security officials believe armed groups have used the refugee camps as bases to prepare attacks and then mingled with residents in urban areas to carry them out.
The East and Horn of Africa continue to suffer from conflicts and displacement but Kenya remains the largest refugee-hosting country in Africa.
While most people fleeing from conflicts in South Sudan arrive in Kakuma in northern Kenya, most Somali refugees flee to Dadaab, located in Garissa County in the former North Eastern Province of Kenya.
Also, the country’s current state of insecurity is attributed to increasing terrorist activities. There have been a growing number of attacks on civilians this year, such as the June Mpeketoni attacks, the November Kisauni and Likoni attacks in Mombasa and Lamu County, and more recently the November and December attacks in Mandera County, which have all been linked to increasing terrorist activity.
Somali Al-Shabaab militants claimed responsibility for many of the attacks in northern and coastal Kenya particularly in Lamu, Likoni, Kisauni and Mpeketoni at the coast, and the latest two in Mandera, in which a total of 64 people were killed.