Coast regional commissioner John Elungata has issued a two days ultimatum to the warring communities in Madogo to returns 48 goats they rounded up and drove away from a grazing field in the outskirts of the town.
Addressing elders from the two communities after a four-hour closed meeting, Elungata said if the goats are not returned in two days, then the accused community should be ready to produce a similar number of goats ‘to be withheld until the 48 are brought back’.
The regional commissioner said that the 16 goats that were rounded up in retaliation should also be returned within the same period.
“Two wrongs don’t make a right. It instead worsens the problem. Let us desist from taking revenge,” Elugata said.
The meeting was occasioned by the killing of two people (one from each side) pitting two communities on Monday in the area allegedly emanating from conflict over ‘who are the original owners of land in Madogo’.
Several houses in villages occupied by the two communities in the outskirts of the town were also torched. Police reinforcement from Bura sub-county Bura helped to quell the situation that was threatening to get out of hand.
Although tension remains high in the center, shops and other businesses that had closed for fear of being looted by goons have started opening.
Madogo center seats along the busy Garissa – Nairobi highway and is one of the fastest-growing cosmopolitan centers that borders Garissa town.
There has been simmering tension for the past one week with each side claiming to be rightful ‘owners of Madogo’.
Elungata further directed the Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI) officers handling the matter to ensure that those behind the death of the two victims are arrested and prosecuted.
“The DCI is under instruction to ensure that the perpetrators of the clashes are brought to book. Those who incited and carried out the attacks don’t belong to any of the communities but are criminals that should be prosecuted,” Elungata said.
He urged the residents to volunteer information to the police on criminals within their midst.
“We still want the youths who went out to the villagers to maim the residents including those who drove away from the goats from both sides and those who aided them in any way. We must clean our society,” he said.
He said the reinforcements brought in from Tana North will remain in the area under the command of the county police commander until calm returns to Madogo.
The regional commissioner also cautioned those using social media platforms to incite communities that ‘they will be prosecuted’.
Elungata said Tana River County has had a history of protracted insecurity ‘and the residents of Madogo should watch out lest we go back to the dark days’.
Elders who spoke among them Mohamoud Wario urged the security agencies to thoroughly investigate the incident especially ‘on who shot and killed one of the youth’.
On his part, Tana North peace chair Doyo Oloo said that ‘blame games’ will not resolve the problem.
“What happened in Madogo has happened. As elders, we should be looking for solutions to the problem. Blaming the government, the politicians, or any of the communities, for now, will not help,” he said.