Preach peace, We can not afford bloodshed!

NepJournal
By NepJournal July 21, 2017 09:35

By Ali Maalim:

Exactly three years ago, we fled Wajir County following ethnic clashes that claimed many lives and left thousands displaced. The clashes were believed to be politically motivated and attributed to the historical border disputes between the inhabitants of the two neighbouring counties, Wajir and Mandera.

They say it’s the wearer of the shoes who knows where it pinches, as a victim I know what it feels when war is brought to your doorstep. One fine afternoon, I came home from school as usual (I was schooling in a day school).

My spirit was high after successful time spent in school, my mind was focused on the homework that awaited me, the village was silent and peaceful when I left for school in the morning, but that afternoon everything seemed unusual, no sooner did I enter the village than I was confronted with a totally different picture, I saw the entire village deserted, the few people whom I encountered were running helter skelter. I was astonished and dumbfounded, I stepped in our homestead but none was in vicinity, I didn’t know what to do as I had no phone to at least communicate with the family to know their whereabouts. As I was deeply thinking of the next step to take, I saw one of our neighbors staring at me over the fence, I got a reprieve. Before I opened my mouth to seek answer to the dilemma, she quickly told me that there was a retaliatory attack that occurred in a village on the border of Wajir and Mandera, she continued to inform me that the family feared for their lives and sought refuge in the nearby village Bula Hodhan.

The sun was setting, I joined the few people who remained in the village due to one reason or the other, evening darkness engulfed the village, deafening sirens of ambulances were heard, it was the ambulances that ferried the casualties of Gunana village. Rumours had it that there was an imminent attack that could erupt, we heard emotion was high and people were flocking towards the hospital to see the bodies of the victims. We found ourselves in an awkward moment, fleeing on foot was impossible as the affected community was living along the escape routes. We called taxis owned by third party community, but unfortunately, all roads were barricaded by marauding youths armed with crude weapons, any vehicle that was suspected to be coming to our location was blocked and forced to make a U-turn. We stayed indoors with unprecedented fear, all lights were put off, all phones switched off and we communicated in hush tones lest the weapon-wielding youths found us, we then separately and discreetly left the village in the wee hours of the night and joined the others in Bulla Hodhan.

The following morning, we saw huge black smokes in the horizon, it was from Wagberi location where several houses were set ablaze, we stared in the space helplessly, with all government forces in the vicinity, no one bothered to intervene, lootings and destruction of properties continued for three weeks unabated.

With no hope in the horizon, fast forward, I found myself in Rhamu. We had no shelter and we were initially hosted by the residents. We hoped peace will prevail and let bygones be bygones, few weeks latter, war broke, this time not machetes were unleashed, but sophisticated weapons. We were worried. This would continue for some time leaving in it’s behind a trail of death and destruction.

At long last, peace was realized thanks to the joint efforts by the government and other stakeholders.

As we approach the general elections, I wish to urge politicians to be very careful with their utterances lest the already precarious situation erupts into another volcano. They should work together to foster peace and coexistence.

I call upon the youth, who form the bulk of the voters to preach peace and never allow to be used negatively, they should use social media responsibly.

The writer is a student at a local university.

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NepJournal
By NepJournal July 21, 2017 09:35