Warring communities in northern Kenya agree on a cease-fire

Two warring communities in northern Kenya on Monday signed an agreement to end hostilities that have led to loss of lives and property.

A statement issued by the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) revealed that Turkana and Samburu communities have agreed on a cease-fire to end cattle rustling and inter- ethnic conflicts.

“The two communities unconditionally commit to a cease-fire agreement and stop any actions that may undermine the peace process initiated by the government,” said the statement.

NCIC has in the past three days negotiated for a durable peace agreement between the Turkana and Samburu communities in the wake of recent banditry and conflicts over grazing land. Rampant insecurity in the Kenyan northern frontier has worsened poverty and marginalization.

NCIC chairman Francis Ole Kaparo said the cease-fire will boost security and economic development in northern frontier districts, adding that the government will take stern action against individuals who commit acts that jeopardizes security and peaceful coexistence.

“The rule of law must be upheld, and persons found culpable of criminal acts must be apprehended and prosecuted in accordance with the law. Individuals will be held liable for crimes they commit and not the entire community,” Kaparo said.

Negotiators agreed that weak policing, marginalization, discrimination during issuance of identity cards and unfair distribution of resources were major triggers of hostility among communities living in Kenya`s northern region.

The peace agreement signed by Turkana and Samburu communities will be implemented in phases and covers a broad range of issues like inter-ethnic dialogue, youth empowerment and infrastructure development.

State officials also promised amnesty to cattle rustlers who surrendered arms and agreed to engage in legal income generating activities.