Clashes between the Gabra and Borana ethnic groups continue to take place in Marsabit county as of mid-October despite mounting pressure on authorities to address the situation. On Wednesday, October 17, a meeting between the governor of Marsabit, two Members of Parliament (MPs), and the Director of Criminal Investigations took place following an early morning attack in the village of Jaldesa that claimed three lives. On Thursday, October 18, another attack occurred at the Gabra Scheme, resulting in the deaths of two people. The October 18 attack brought the total number of deaths to 16 since this most recent round of ethnic strife began in September. Further attacks and reprisals remain likely in the near-term.
The recent clashes have occurred between armed members of the Gabra and Borana groups, both of who inhabit northern Kenya and southern Ethiopia and have a long history of engaging in conflict over grazing lands. The Gabra Scheme, where the most recent attacks occurred, is the area allotted to the nomadic Gabra people for agricultural activity and camel grazing, although it is frequently encroached upon by predominantly cattle-grazing Borana herdsmen.
Kenya has recently experienced increasingly frequent bouts of sociopolitical and socioeconomic unrest, sectarian tensions, and inter-communal violence. The country has witnessed major demonstrations by public and private sector workers, as well as by opposition parties, in recent months. Security forces often use a heavy-handed approach in quelling protests.
Individuals in the affected area are advised to monitor developments to the situation, remain vigilant for militant activity, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments.
Due to these and other security concerns, many Western governments advise against travel to a number of regions in the country, including areas bordering Somalia (e.g. parts of Mandera, Wajir, Garissa, and Lamu counties), Ethiopia, and South Sudan.
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