Religious leaders in the County of Isiolo have decried the state of lawlessness in the region, following a recent wave of attacks pitting herders from various pastoralist communities and also farmers from the neighboring county of Meru that have led to loss of more than twenty lives in recent weeks.
Under the banner of Isiolo Interfaith Network that brings together religious leaders from various denominations and faiths in the County, the clerics noted that they were appalled by the manner in which the responsible government agencies have handled the insecurity situation, with members of public opting to take the law into their own hands to carry out revenge missions.
The last incident just a week ago saw five people killed in Mweromalia village along the border of Meru and Isiolo Counties, following a revenge attack by herders from Isiolo County, whose ten camels were slashed to death by farmers after they invaded their farms.
Led by their Chairperson Sheikh Ahmed Set and Secretary Bishop Stephen Kalunyu, the religious leaders called for peaceful coexistence among the various ethnic communities living in the region, with frequent conflicts also being witnessed along the Isiolo-Samburu, Isiolo – Wajir and Isiolo – Garissa borders in recent times, with pasture and water being a major factor in all the skirmishes.
Sheikh Ahmed said that the clerics had resolved to commit themselves to preaching peace messages both in Mosques and churches, engaging the faithful in order to dispel fear and tension that has been instilled in the people courtesy of unfounded rumors and propaganda being peddled especially on social media, so that normalcy returns and members of public can go on with their usual activities devoid of fear of being attacked.
He noted that the clerics had also put together a reconciliation committee comprising of religious leaders and elders from the affected parts of both Isiolo and Meru Counties, who will be tasked with the responsibility of bringing together the aggrieved communities of herders and farmers, so that mutual respect prevails, where herders respect farms/crops, and farmers also respect camels and livestock in general. Sheikh Ahmed said that the special committee will get down to work immediately after the burial ceremony of the five people that were recently killed at Mweromalia. The burial ceremony is scheduled to be conducted today.
Isiolo Interfaith Network Secretary Bishop Stephen Kalunyu called upon the responsible government agencies to also be swift in action to apprehend those who commit crimes, so that the aggrieved parties do not feel shortchanged and neglected, therefore taking the law into their own hands through revenge attacks.
Bishop Kalunyu said that there was need to arrest and prosecute those who slashed camels as well as those who killed people in revenge, so that such acts do not become a trend.