Ethiopia accused of stoking Moyale clashes
By ALI ABDI
Moyale, Kenya: Borana leaders have accused the Ethiopian military of fueling the conflict in the border town of Moyale. MPs Ali Rasso (Saku), Roba Duba ( Moyale) and Mohamud Ali, a former Moyale MP, Sunday claimed Ethiopia was using its military and local militias to hunt down Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) rebels. Rasso, a former Kenya army colonel, alleged that about 400 militiamen fighting the OLF in Kenya were behind the anarchy in Moyale. The leaders blamed the attackers for the burning of more than 100 houses in Butiye and Moyale town. Rasso said a gang in full military uniform went on a torching-spree of houses that belonged to senior Borana personalities. Among the houses burnt on Saturday morning included that of Butiye Ward Representaive Golicha Galgalo and former MPs, Guyo Halake Liban and Mohammed Galgalo. ‘‘ Moyale was deserted on Friday afternoon and the whole of Saturday. Even the fighters retreated. But some people in military uniform were all over burning houses and killing all those in sight,’’ said Rasso. The MP claimed the Kenya Defence Forces, deployed to stop the inter-clan clashes, was collaborating with the Ethiopian military and the militias. He claimed a detachment of Kenya Army based at Odha has an Ethiopian military liaison officer by the name Kiross. “The Ethiopian government has always had a liaison officer at Odha. This man Kiross is their liaison officer and he is the one,” Rasso claimed. “‘The Kenyan government in collaboration with the Ethiopian government kicked out the OLF in Moyale in 2010, but the Ethiopians were told by the county government officials that the rebels are still there,’’ said the MP.
Marsabit County Commissioner, Isaiah Nakoru refuted claims that KDF was working with their counterparts from Ethiopia but added that his office had received complaints that fighters in military uniform were sighted in Moyale on Friday and Saturday. “We are investigating about armed people in military gear who were seen in battle in Moyale. But the report we have so far is that militias were behind the burning of the houses,” said Mr Nakoru. The administrator added that both the protagonists—the Gabra and Burji on one side and the Borana on the other, are backed by their kinsmen from Ethiopia. Both Kenya and Ethipoia, he added have deployed soldiers along their common border to ensure that no militiamen cross into Kenya. But both countries have also ensured that those seeking refuge are given a safe haven. That, however, is restricted to the main crossing border point at Moyale. According to sources outside the Government, 17 people were killed between Friday and Saturday, bringing the death toll to 27 in the past one week. An estimated 70,000 Moyale Central residents have sought refuge in Ethiopia as Kenya Army moved into the volatile border town with armoured vehicles and helicopter gunships.
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