Inter-clan Conflict In Mandera District: A Case Of The Garre And Murulle, 2004-2009

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Scholars on violence in Mandera who include Lewis have focused on Somali irredentism and closeness to the porous Kenya-Somalia border as the main cause of inter-clan conflict. 1 This study set to explore other factors that may underlay conflict in Mandera. The study covered the period between 2004 and 2009. For better understanding of the conflict, the study utilized the Homer-Dixon’s theoretical framework, which analyses why violent conflicts occur. The proponents of this theory argue that conflicts can be induced by scarcity of any need against the competing demands. These are divided into scarcity associated with resource degradation and scarcity induced by population growth. The researcher wanted to understand whether resources carcity played any role in the conflict. The researcher was interested in establishing weather creating of administrative boundaries of the Northern Frontier by the colonialists underlay recurrent conflict among the two clans. This is a descriptive and cross-sectional study. Various events on Murulle and the Garre inter-clan conflict have been described. Areas around the northern part of the Kenya-Somali boarder have similar climatic conditions of arid and semi arid lands. These areas are dominated by ethnics groups that have similar cultural practices and customary institutions. These groups are predominantly nomads and often migrate in search of pasture and water for their livestock. The migration often resulted in conflict as the groups fight for diminishing resources. The migrations happen within ethnic group or clan territory as well as across other clan territories including across the northern Kenya /southern Ethiopia border lines /areas and Somali. Access to resources during migration among the clans may be gained through negotiation and reciprocal relationships with the host community or through conflicts. Conflicts result in displacement of the defeated clan. An example is the conflict between the Garre and the Murulle clans of the larger Somali. Recurrent conflict among the Murulle and the Garre has brought insecurity in the entire Mandera triangle. While consensus exists that the recurrent conflicts have adverse effects on pastoralists and other rural communities, this study deemed it essential to explore detailed information on the conflict. The continued hostility among these two clans 1 Lewis, A Pastoral Democracy, London: James Currey, 1961 and also see, Mburu, N, Bandits on the Border: The Last Frontier in the Search of Somali Unity, Trenton, NJ, Red Sea Press, 2005. vi formed the basis for this study whose main objective was to explore factors responsible for clan conflicts in Mandera district. The study revealed that, over the decades, the clans of Murulle and Garre have migrated onto each other’s territory as well as other clan’s territories resulting in inter-clan conflicts and displacement. Conflicts were common during dry spells or drought. As drought took effect, resources of pasture and water dwindled and set in motion competition for these much needed resources. Often, the result was conflict. Apart from drought the changing climatic patterns and the ecological stress being experienced around the globe, a steady population increase among the pastoralists has been attributed to the diminishing pasture lands and water catchments points.

Hussein Mohamed Alio

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