Research Article

Nature and Extent of Inter-Clan Conflicts in the Somali Community in Wajir North Sub-County, Kenya

Robert Kiprop Aengwony, Prof. Crispinuous Iteyo, Dr. Ruth Simiyu,
Article Date Published : 20 August 2019 | Page No.: 5580-5595 | Google Scholar

Abstract

Conflict is a global phenomenon which is being experienced every time and again. In a nut shell, it has got a devastating effect on social, political and economic aspects of life. The study aimed assessing the extent and nature and extent of inter-clan conflicts among the Somali communities in Wajir North Sub-County. The study was based on two theories which are Social Conflict Theory by Karl Max (1818-1883) and Human Needs Theory by John Burton (1932 to date). The findings of the study indicate that the key perpetrators of inter-clan conflicts were youths (97%) and livestock rustlers (97%). The study also revealed that guns were the most used weapons (43%) followed by panga/machetes (31%). The conflicts caused deaths (64%) destruction and loss of property (100%), displacements (98%). The study concludes that socio-economic factors influence the recurrence of inter-clan conflicts in Wajir North Sub-County Kenya. The study recommends continuous public campaigns and public awareness to fight inter-clan conflicts.

1 Introduction

This chapter presents results and discussions on the nature and extent of inter-clan conflicts among Somali communities in Wajir North Sub-county which was the first objective of this study. The chapter discuss the demographic characteristics of the respondents from households; duration of stay of the household heads in the study area; incidences of conflicts; number of times of the conflicts and duration of the conflicts; areas prone to the conflicts; frequency of the conflicts, socio-economic impacts of the conflicts and knowledge on the perpetrators of the conflicts; and the chapter summary.

2 Demographic Characteristics of Household heads in Wajir North Sub-County.

The demographic information of household heads was done through the use of questionnaires. A total of 400 questionnaires were administered to the respondents and all the questionnaires were returned meaning there was 100% response rate. The demographic information collected through the questionnaires was classified into five categories; gender, age, marital status, religion and education.

2.1 Gender of Household heads in Wajir North Sub-County.

The study sought to establish the gender of 400 household head respondents. The respondents were thus asked to indicate their gender and the results are shown in Figure 4.1.

Figure 1:

Figure 1 The Gender of Househeads in Wajir North Sub-County , Kenya

Source: Field Data (2018 )

According to Figure 4.1, 84% (336) of the respondents are males, while only a small percentage of 16% (64) were females. The study reveals that majority of the house heads are males whereas their counterparts the females only head a few households.

There is a great gender disparity in Wajir North Sub-County in headship of households. The men dominate household leadership, leaving women behind in leadership roles. There is a lot of gender inequality which results from the cultural norms of the Somali communities. In most African communities, women were not allowed to be household heads. In fact, those who were widowed were supposed to be remarried so that men can take control of their households as heads. In the Somali community, women who are widowed are remarried (Ghai & Ghai, 2013). They get married to a husband whose wives died or has less than four wives and would like to add. The society believes that women should have a man in leadership who makes decisions for the family.

Most of the females who were household heads were widowed recently. They had not been remarried. Also, there were others who were not Muslims and were not following the strict religious cultures that do not give women a chance to be leaders (Ghai & Ghai, 2013).

The results of this study agree with the study conducted by KDHS (2014) which indicated that men are the major decision makers in most of the important household activities. According to KDHS (2014), only 20% of married women make decisions mainly on important issues such as household purchases, meaning that it is mostly men who make key household decisions (KNBS, 2014). The Socio-economic status of men and women can be indicated through ownership of assets. According to the KDHS (2014) survey, more men than women own and control assets and as such, most women have to depend on men economically (KNBS, 2015).

These findings concur with those of Walker (2009) who indicated that the social-economic status of women in the society makes them vulnerable to negative impacts of conflicts and therefore making them disadvantaged. Both men and women play an active role in conflicts, but also get affected differently by these conflicts. Women’s participation and experiences in and of conflict can be analyzed at three levels. That is, in the personal sphere where they experience and participate in conflict as individuals, in the private sphere where they experience conflict as mothers and wives, and in the public sphere where they interface with societal structures that limit their participation in decision making processes and peace building mechanisms (Walker, 2009).

Lack of gender balance in the decision making process from the household and its extension to the society at large has made it difficult to have a societal approach in the management of inter-clan conflicts. In as much as women are active participants at the grassroots in managing conflicts, they are normally forgotten in the formal peace process due to the cultural norms that treat them differently from men (Lorenz, 2004). In this regard therefore, the grass root concerns of women are forgotten, thereby creating room for the recurrence of the conflicts.

2.2 Age of Household heads in Wajir North Sub-County

The study sought to find out the age of household heads in Wajir North Sub-County. The results from 400 respondents are shown in Figure 4.2.

Figure 2:

Figure 2 The Age of Household heads in Wajir North Sub-County

Source: Field Data (2018)

The results indicated that those in the age bracket of 10-20 years were 24 (6%) , 21-35 years were 156 (39%), 36-50 years were 152 (38%) and those aged 51-75 years were 56 (14%) and Above 75 years were 12(3). These findings are consistent with the 2010 Kenyan census which cumulatively put household head between ages of 21-50 years in the study area at 76.8% and, those above 51 years 16.6% (KNBS, 2010). Majority of the respondents were below 50 years which is mostly considered to be the productive ages, and therefore, people who were directly affected socially and economically by the recurrence of the conflicts. Those above the age of 50 though not the majority had vast experience on the history of the recurrence of the conflicts, and were key in providing vital information on the recurrence of the conflicts since they had lived in the areas longer, and hence understood the dynamics of the conflicts in the area of study. Age is an important factor in conflicts issues (Tierney et. al., 2001). The most active participants in conflicts are youths.

Ages of 10-20 years which catered for 24 (6%) of the respondents are mainly years when people are mostly engaged in education, with majority of people in high school or colleges. These categories of respondents were therefore able to give information on the impacts of the recurrent conflicts on education as this matter directly affected them. The respondents of ages 21-35 years 156 (39) and 36-50 years 152 (38%) who cumulatively accounted for 308 (77% ) of the respondents and thus the majority were composed of young people and middle aged people mostly job seekers, working class or those hoping to get married and settle down and those who are married. These are the most active members of the society who drive the economy and are the most affected by the conflicts. These age categories were therefore important in this study since these groups of respondents could give information about the effects of conflicts on the economy as well as on the welfare of the members of the society as a whole (KNBS, 2010).

According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, Kenya has a high dependency in the rural areas with the child dependency ratio being 0.926 and aged dependency ratio being 0.082. Therefore Wajir North Sub-County being rural based have high dependency ratio (KNBS & SID, 2013). Most members of the society below 20 years and those above 50 years also depend on this age category and as such, it is the people between 21-49 years who bare the economic burden of the community and therefore the most affected by conflicts.

In this study it was important to classify the respondents by age since youths are more often active participants in conflicts. In an interview by the chief of one of the locations in the sub-county, it emerged that the youths are the most active participants in ethnic conflicts in the area as they are mostly involved in cattle rustling. Similar claims came out in FGDs hence making it important to understand the definition of youth. The African Youth Charter defines youth a person between the ages of 15 to 35 (African Union, 2006). In this study, the African youth Charter definition has been the basis of defining youths. Majority of the respondents were youthful and understood the dynamics of the conflicts in the study area.

2.3 Marital Status of Household Heads in Wajir North Sub-County

The study sought to determine the marital status of 400 household heads in Wajir North Sub-County. The results were as indicated in Figure 4.3.

Figure 3:

Figure 3: Marital Status of household heads in Wajir North Sub-County, Kenya

Source: Field Data (201 8 )

According to the results of the study as indicated in Figure 4.3, from the 400 household heads who responded to the questionnaires, 16(4%) were single, 348(87%) were married, and 24(6%) were either separated or divorced while only 12(3%) were widowed. The finding of the study were consistent with the KDHS 2014 survey which indicated that 73% of women are married by age of between age 19 to 34 years and 83% of men get married at the ages of 25 to 35 years (KNBS, 2015). The findings of the study therefore indicate that most adults above 20 years are married as revealed in the study. Since majority of the respondents are married, this indicates that these respondents were mature people and responsible members of the community whom conflicts affected in one way or another and as such were aware of the socio-economic factors surrounding the conflicts as this had a direct bearing on their lives as people who have families.

2.4 Religion of Household heads in Wajir North Sub-County

The study sought to establish the religion of the household heads, they were asked to indicate their religions which gave rise to the results shown in Figure 4.4.

Figure 4:

Figure 4: Religion of household heads in Wajir North Sub-County, Kenya

Source: Field Data (2018 )

Results in Figure 4.4 show that out of the total 400 respondents, 296 (74%) were Muslims, 72 (18%) were Christians while 8 (2%) followed African traditions/religion and 24 (6%) indicated that they belonged to other religions which included Hindus, Pagans and non-believers. From the results, it is therefore clear that majority of the respondents in Wajir North Sub-County were Muslims. In the study of ethnic conflicts, religion is an important factor since religious leaders are often seen to be playing an important role in ensuring that the communities are peaceful. Religion appeals to people differently, and as such, the use of religion to foster peace is possible as religion is the moral value of peace, love and cohesion are easily awaken through religious teachings. The use of religion to preach peace and morality is normally led by the clergy who are in many occasions held with high regard in the communities where they live. Christianity and Islam in particular have important teachings on peace, and therefore, having communities where people are religious impacts directly or indirectly on issues of conflicts as well as peace (Haufler, 2002).

Religion is an important factor in inter-clan conflicts since religious leaders are highly respected and enjoy a high status in the communities. Findings from a study done in Nigeria by Mercy Corps (2016) indicated that religious leaders are more respected than other leaders and people trust them more. In relation to their conflict resolution work, the study further revealed that religious leaders were considered successful because “they are highly respected as many people saw them as God’s people, and therefore going against what they said would mean going against God.” Further, in a series of hypothetical questions, exploring whether community members would follow the advice of their religious leader or other leaders in the community in a variety of situations, most respondents reported that they would follow the advice of their religious leaders, emphasizing how the religious leaders’ are perceived as wealth of knowledge, lack of bias and truthfulness (Haufler, 2002).

The role of religion in preventing conflicts was further supported by the evidence from the faith based organizations that were involved in peace building within the study area. These included the Seventh Day Adventist Church (SDA), the Catholic Church, the Anglican Church, and the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (P.C.E.A) among others as it emerged from Interviews and FGDs. There were many mosques in the study area which indicated that the communities are actively involved in religious activities. The researchers also noted that the mosques were open and operational, where many household heads reported to have left the mosque a few moments ago, or would be going to the mosque in a few moments to come.

One of the participants in the FGD in Danaba location indicated that the Islamic leaders were actively involved in peace building activities. The international Islamic Community was also involved in providing relief food and shelter to affected communities during inter-clan clashes especially in Danaba, Quadama and Ajawa Locations. The mosques and churches in the area provide shelter to families whose houses were torched during the inter-clan conflicts while preaching peace to the locals to coexist peacefully.

2.5 Educational Level of Household heads in Wajir North Sub-County, Kenya

The study sought to determine the educational level of household heads of Wajir North Sub-county. Education levels were categorised as; no formal education, Primary level, secondary level and post-secondary level. The results are as given in Figure 4.5.

Figure 5:

Figure 5: Education Levels of Household heads in Wajir North Sub-County

Source: Field Data (2018 )

The results revealed that out of the total 400 household heads, 48 (12%) had no formal education, 156 (39%) had reached the primary school level, 124 (31%) had reached high school level while only 72(18%) had postsecondary school level.

Based on these findings, cumulatively, 82% of the household heads only had basic education and did not have any training and marketable skills. The lack of marketable skills by majority of the respondents therefore has a direct implication on their socio-economic status. Education has a direct implication on the livelihood of people as well as their ability to be employed which is a factor that can lead to poverty (Agrawal & Redford 2009). Since the majority of the population is made up of young people (below 35 years), low educational attainments make them vulnerable to active conflicts as supported by the KAS-EU report on electoral violence in Kenya. The KAS research indicated that many youths with low educational attainments were politically influenced to participate in politically motivated conflicts in exchange of hand-outs of as low as 200 Kenya Shillings (KAS-EU, 2011). Therefore education affects the socio-economic status of people and can influence their participation in conflicts.

3 Duration of stay by Household Heads in Wajir North Sub-County, Kenya

The study sought to establish the duration of stay for respondents in Wajir North Sub-County. This was an important parameter as it helped inform the study whether the respondents had enough experience on the conflicts that keep recurring in the region and more so how frequent they occur. The results are indicated in Figure 4.6.

Figure 6:

Figure 6: Duration of stay of household heads in Wajir North Sub-County

Source: Field Data (201 8 ).

The results of the study indicated that out of the 400 respondents who filled the questionnaires, 304(76%) had lived in Wajir North for more than ten years, 68(17%) had stayed in the sub-county for a period between 5 to 10 years, while only 28(7%) had been in Wajir for less than 5 years. These results indicate that majority of the household heads have been in the region for a long time. As it occurred during the FGDs, most of the inhabitants of the area were born in Wajir, or came to the area when they were young children.

Since parts of the study area such as Wajir Town were cosmopolitan, it was crucial to comprehend the duration of stay so as to account for the people who might have not stayed in the area for long based on the fact that they might have migrated into the area for recently either for work or because they might have acquired land and settled in the area recently. The results indicate that majority of the household heads had been in the area for a long time. Therefore, they had the required information concerning the recurring conflicts in Wajir North Sub-County. For the last few years, more people are migrating to the area. The rise in local population and the increasing number of people immigrating into the an area through land buying and other business related activities have put pressure on the livelihood systems and pitted livelihood groups against one another and as a result of these socio-economic pressures, inter-clan conflicts have become inevitable (Bevan, 2007). This has been the situation in the Darfur conflicts where for the last 40 years, environmental pressures, and population pressure coupled with political marginalization have led to the creation of ethnically distinct militias that have led to the recurrent conflict in the region (Young, 2006).

3.1 Occupation of Household Heads in Wajir North Sub-County, Kenya

The study sought to investigate the occupation of the household heads. This was an important parameter as it shows what the respondents do for survival. The socio-economic milieu is a crucial contributor to conflict. The results are indicated in Figure 4.7.

Figure 7:

Figure 7 Occupation of Household Heads in Wajir North Sub-County

Source: Field Data (2018)

According to the results of the study as indicated in Figure 4.7, 64(16%) of the household heads were salaried and 72(18%) were business persons. Majority of the respondents 216(54%) were peasant farmers while 48(12%) were unemployed. The results of the study agree with the results of the KNBS (2010) which indicated that 53.7% of Wajir North Sub-County residents were pastoralists. According to a study conducted by KAS (2011), most of the conflicts that occur in Kenya affect pastoral communities. The pastoralists fight many times because of the scarce resources in the region. They also fight because of boundaries and historical injustices which are passed on from one generation to the other (KAS, 2011). This case, Wajir North Sub-County which as the results show is occupied by pastoral communities is prone to conflicts.

During the FGDs, most of the respondents agreed that the majority of the occupants in the study area were pastoralists. They keep cows, camels, donkeys, goats and sheep as their main source of livelihood. There are a good number of respondents who are either salaried or own businesses. However, the businesses, as revealed during the FGDS, do not thrive because of the frequent conflicts in the region.

The results of the study show that 12% of household heads have no employment. These people do not have animals to rear. They lack land and capital to conduct farming, and have not secured a job. According to the Youth Burger Theory, there is a high probability of conflict and violence whenever many people have nothing to do for survival. The unemployed people tend to blame the government, the employers, those who have jobs and the entire society for their misfortunes. This ideology is supported by Marxists (Social Conflict Theory) who agree that the poor ultimately start a conflict with the rich because they want to own means of production. Considering the high number of unemployed household heads, the likelihood of recurring conflicts is inevitable.

3.2 Clan of the Household Heads in Wajir North Sub-County, Kenya

The study sought to investigate the ethnicity of the household heads in Wajir North Sub-County. The results are indicated in Figure 4.8.

Figure 8:

Figure 4.8 Clan of Household Heads in Wajir North Sub-County

Source: Field Data (2018)

The results of the study indicate that 188(47%) of the household heads were from the Degodia Clan, 144(36%) from the Ajuran, 32(8%) from the Garreh, and 36(9%) belong to other Somali clans and other communities. As the results show, a cumulative percentage of 83% are from the Degodia and Ajuran communities. In this case, the majority are from these two clans. The two communities have for many years been conflicting over various issues. The results agree with the study conducted by Walker and Omar (2002) which indicated that the conflict between the Degodia and the Ajuran clans started long before the arrival of the colonialist. Despite the commonality of their Islamic faith, these major communities keep fighting. They both have the numbers that make them feel superior and ready to fight. The Ajuran, as revealed during interviews with local leaders, claimed that they are the true inhabitants and owners of Wajir County. However, as Walker and Omar (2002) argue, the Degodia have continuously refuted that claim. They point out that Wajir belongs to their ancestors as the Somali, and that the Ajuran should not think they are more Somalis than all the other clans. Therefore, the two clans continue to disagree and frequently fight because of a many factors as this research reveals.

4 Incidence of Conflicts in Wajir North Sub-County, Kenya

The study sought to establish the incidence of conflicts in Wajir North Sub-County. The respondents were asked to indicate whether they have experienced conflicts resulting from communities in the research area. The results are indicated in Figure 4.9.

Figure 9:

Figure 9 Incidence of Conflicts

Source: Filed Data (2018)

According to the results of the study, 384(96%) have experienced conflicts while only 16(4%) have not experienced conflicts. The results points out that majority of the residents have experienced conflicts in Wajir North Sub-County. The results are in agreement with the KAS (2011) report which pointed out that there have been frequent conflicts within Wajir North Sub-county. Most of the residents have witnessed conflicts because they occur many times and the members of the communities witness them. Most of the people who argued that they have not experienced the conflicts have stayed in the area for a long time. They had indicated that they have stayed in Wajir North for less than five years as shown in Figure 4.6.

According to Walter (2002), the inter-clan conflict between Degodia and Ajuran clans started long before the arrival of the colonialists. Walter continues to argue that the conflict between Degodia and Ajuran communities intensified during colonial era. In this case, therefore, the residents of the area have witnessed conflicts which occur anytime of the year. There is a lot if enmity between these communities and any minor issue triggers conflict at any time. This explains why almost everyone in Wajir North has witnessed confrontation between warring communities.

The police officers interviewed agreed that they have been involved in peace keeping missions for several times in the area. They pointed out that they understand that the communities in Wajir North have a lot of unresolved issues that make the area so vulnerable to conflicts. During the interviews , one police officer said that:

  • In this area, anything can trigger inter-ethnic conflicts. We are usually ready to face fighting groups because of a small issue such as a small argument between children belonging to these different communities. There is a time a young man from the Degodia was seen talking to a young girl from the Ajuran clan. The whole sub-county became chaotic. This area is never totally peaceful. Every day is a war day in suspense (Interviewed Police Officer, 10th December, 2018).

During the Focus Group Discussions with the village elders, they unanimously agreed that there are conflicts every now and then. The village elders pointed out that they have been involved in many conflicts management and resolutions. The village elders are elderly men who have been in the area for many years. They were sad that all the measures put in place have not completely helped the residents of Wajir North to enjoy peace or hope that the future would be peaceful.

According to 20(100%) of the business owners interviewed, there have been conflicts and a lot of tension in the area which has negatively affected their businesses entities for many years. The business owners argued that Wajir North Sub-County is a potential business region that can thrive if only there were no tensions among the communities. This revelation is in agreement with the KNHCR (2014) which pointed out that most entrepreneurs are abandoning their business in Wajir because of uncertainity in the area. There have been deaths and injuries which instill fear among the entrepreneurs, especially those who are not locals (KNHCR, 2014).

5 Frequency of the Conflicts in Wajir North Sub-County

The study sought to assess the frequency of conflicts Wajir North Sub-County. The respondents were asked to indicate the regularity of conflicts in Wajir North Sub-County. The results are indicated in Figure 4.10.

Figure 10:

Figure 10 Frequency of Conflicts in Wajir North Sub-County

Source: Field Data 2018

The results of the study as shown in Figure 4.10 indicate that 276(69%) of the household heads argued that the conflicts occur frequently, 84(21%) said the conflicts occur once in a while 24(6%) pointed out that the conflicts occur at all times. However, 16(4%) said that there are no conflicts in the study area. The results of the study indicate that majority of the respondents believe that there are regular conflicts in the area. A cumulative number of 384 (96%) agree that there are conflicts in Wajir North Sub-County. This is in agreement with other studies and government reports which have pointed out the frequent conflicts in the region.

During FGDs with youth leaders in Peace Committees, they pointed out that there have been conflicts in the area. The young people in Wajir said that they are uncertain of when the conflicts will occur. They know that conflicts can erupt any time and they start fighting. The youth leaders argued that they grew up witnessing conflicts, and the situation has not changed. One of the youth leaders said that:

  • Hapa Wajir vita hutokea wakati wowote. Hakuna mwaka huisha bila Degodia na Ajuran kuvurugana. Ni lazima wapigane na watu waumizane. (Conflicts in Wajir North Sub-County are frequent. The Degodia and Ajuran clans must disagree and fight every year. Many people are injured as a result of these conflicts, (Source: Field Data December, 2018).

The village elders concurred with the youth leaders during Focus Group Discussions. They agreed that there are regular inter-clan conflicts among communities living in Wajir North Sub-County. The village elders said that they have been doing their best to preach the gospel of peace among the communities, but the conflicts keep on recurring. One village elder pointed out that:

  • We have had inter-clan conflicts in this region since the times of our grandfathers. My grandfather used to narrate to me how his entire family was killed by the Degodia warriors in a single night. Only your father escaped the fateful night. It is unfortunate that I have also lost my two sons in similar occasions. Conflicts in this area are too frequent. We cannot say that we have had any single peaceful year. (Source: Field Data December, 2018)

Another village elder agreed with the same opinion and said that:

  • It’s true. We have never witnessed 12 months of peace. We have frequent inter-clan conflicts that sometimes happen after every few weeks. Our people do not know peace. They were born in warring ages, have grown up in the same environment, and are dying in the same condition. I wish they could learn from the mistakes of our ancestors and embrace peace (Source: Field Data, December 2018)

There are household heads who stated that there have been no conflicts in the region. These are people who have not been in the region for a long period. They indicated that they have spent less than 5 years in Wajir North Sub-County. In this case, they might be as new as one month in the region, thus, they do not have experience in the conflicts that affect the people.

During the interviews, 25(100%) of the assistant chiefs and 20(100%) of the business entities agreed that recurrence of inter-clan conflicts was a common factor in the area, and that these conflicts would occur at any time. The 16(100%) of the police officers from the National Police Service who were interviewed also concurred that the conflicts in the area were recurrent. The 4 (100%) leaders of the NGOs also brought into perspective the issue of recurrence of Inter-clan conflicts in the area especially during the dry season because of resources which trigger other causes of the conflict.

6 Types of Weapons Used During Violent Conflicts

The study sought to investigate the types of weapons used during conflicts in Wajir North Sub-County. The results are indicated in Figure 4.11.

Figure 11:

Figure 11 Wea pons U sed during Conflicts in Wajir North Sub-County , Kenya

Source: Field Data (2018)

The results of the study indicate that out of the 400 household heads who responded to the questionnaires, 124(31%) said that panga /machetes are used during conflicts, 172(43%) argued that guns are used while 76(19%) pointed out that clubs/rungus are used. The remaining 28(7%) gave other weapons which included machetes , knives bows and arrows.

During the FGDs with the village elders, they all agreed with the results from household heads that most of the perpetrators of conflict use guns. The village elders pointed out that the region lies in the border of Kenya and Somalia .In this case, therefore, it is easy for the members of the community to have guns because of proliferation of the same. The residents acquire guns to use for protection during the frequent conflicts that affect the area regulary. One elder during FGDs pointed out that:

  • Almost every family has a gun. There are some families that have more than one gun. Without a gun in this region, the family feels insecure. Therefore, they go an extra mile to ensure that they acquire a family gun so that they can feel protected. In fact, there are some families, especially those with many sons, have several guns. People show their guns during conflicts to threaten the enemy clan and kill when necessary. (Source: Field Data December, 2018)

Another village elder had a contradicting view when he said:

  • The Degodia and the Ajuran belong to the same community. We are all Somalis. Therefore, we fight using rungus, pangas and strong sticks. We have no intention to kill each other. It is just that the conflicts are there and every clan wants to protect its property. (Source: Field Data December, 2018)

Majority of the village elders agreed that there are many guns in the hands of the community members. They pointed out that the government is aware of the experience of guns in the wrong hands. However, as Namwamba (2004) notes, the community members are unwilling to surrender their weapons because they do not believe their enemies will do so. In this case, they fear surrendering their guns which will make them more vulnerable to conflict considering that the enemy will still have their guns.

An interview with 16(100%) Police officers from National Police Service (NPS) confirmed that there are very many guns in Wajir North Sub-County which are used during conflicts. The guns are transported from Somalia, Sudan and Ethiopia. The clan members use them during conflicts as well as to commit other crimes. The police officers agree that the guns that the community has surpasses the number of guns police officers in the area have. In this case, it is usually hard for the police to control escalated cases of violent conflict considering the fact that almost everyone coming to confront the police has a gun. One police officer argued that:

  • There are so many weapons, especially guns in Wajir North. The police are there, but they have fewer weapons compared to what the public has. These people have been fighting since the 1800s. They know how to acquire guns illegally, use the guns and avoid the law. They can do anything because they are born in war, shown how to use, and many die in war. They do not fear police guns like the other communities do. (Source: Field Data December, 2018)

Apart from the guns, the residents of Wajir North have many other weapons. According to the results from the questionnaires, 124(31%) pointed out that pangas/machetes, while 76(19%) said rungus/clubs are used during conflicts. The community is culturally nomadic. In this case, they have many weapons which they use to protect their animals. They take their animals to the forests and are likely to encounter many wild animals. Therefore, they have weapons which they can use in their daily lives. However, these weapons are used during conflicts to fight the enemy. During the FGDS, the village elders also agreed that the community uses other weapons such as rungus to defend themselves during conflicts.

The youth leaders of Peace Committees concurred with other respondents that the young people in the area have weapons ready. According to the African culture, the young people are the custodians of security. They should protect their parents, grandparents, younger siblings and the entire society from harm and attack (Mazrui, 2003). In this case, therefore, the young people in Wajir North Sub-county, as revealed during FGDs with youth leaders of peace committee (Plate 1), must have weapons ready to fight anytime. They are uncertain on how long the peaceful durations will prevail. Therefore, they keep weapons ready so that they can play their role of protecting their society against any harm.

During the FGDs, one youth leader said that:

  • The society expects the young people to be ready to fight for everybody. Whenever a conflict starts, the members of the society tell the young people to go out and fight. Now, how do we fight without weapons? That is why we have to get weapons from all possible sources. Some of the young people have gone to the extent of buying bows and arrows from the Masaai and Kalenjin communities. Traditionally, we did not use such weapons, but the situation is forcing us to do so because the members of the enemy clan have them (FGD with a Youth leader. (Source: Field Data December, 2018)

According to Hugenberg et al. (2007), the weapons in Kenya originate from neighbouring countries especially those with violent conflicts such as South Sudan and Somali. The results of the study agree with the Small Arms Survey of (2001) that 90%-95% of households in Northern Kenya are armed with firearms.

7 Knowledge on the Perpetrators of Inter-Clan Conflicts

The research investigated whether the respondents are aware of the perpetrators of conflict in Wajir North Sub-County. The 400 household heads were given the questionnaires to indicate their feedback on whether they agree or disagree with the suggested perpetrators of conflict. The results are indicated in Table 1.

Table 1 Knowledge of Perpetrators of Conflict in Wajir North Sub-County , Kenya
Perpetrators of Conflict Agree Strongly Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree Don’t Know Total(N)
Youths (172)43% (216)54% (8)2% 0% (4)1% (400)100%
Politicians 96(24%) 8(2%) (144)36% (116)29% (36)9% (400)100%
Cattle Rustlers (204)51% (176)44% (20)5% (0)0% (0)0% (400)100%
Vigilante Groups/Mob Justice (164)41% (108)27% (32)8% (24)6% (72)18% (400)100%
External Perpetrators (36)9% (16)4% (156)39% (96)24% (96)24% (400)100%
Religious Groups (28)7% (8)2% (268)67% 0% (96)24% (400)100%

Source: Field Data (2018)

7. 1 Y ouths

The results in Table 4.1 indicate that (97%) of the household heads agreed cumulatively that youths were the major perpetrators of conflict. The results from the questionnaires are consistent with the findings from 15(100%) village elders who agreed that the youths are the major perpetrators of conflict. The young people are expected by the society to protect their families against any harm, it is in the African cultural beliefs that the young people should take care of the society and protect the people from any harm. In this case, the young people are the ones who are directly involved in fighting whenever there is a disagreement between the communities living in Wajir North Sub-County.

During the FGDs with youth leaders from the peace committee, the respondents agreed that the young people are direct perpetrators of the conflict. The youth leaders argued that the high rate of unemployment makes the young people to be vulnerable to conflict and other crimes. Since they do not have jobs, they are engaged in any activity that can help reduce the time they have to do nothing. During the FGDs, one youth leaders said that:

However, some youth leaders had a contrary opinion during the FGDs. They felt that everything bad is believed to be done by the youths, yet the conflicts are a community affair which includes people of all ages. One of the youth leaders with a different opinion argued that:

According to the Police Officers interviewed, most youths are unemployed in Wajirn North Sub-County. In this case, they are an easy target by politicians and religious fundamentalists. They use the youths to cause mayhem in Wajir, especially during the dry season when there is drought. Police Officers interviewed had a similar opinion with entrepreneurs and owners of the business entity interviewed. They argued that the youths in Wajir North are vulnerable to manipulation because of the high poverty levels in the region. Thus, they are easily convinced by politicians and illegal groups to take part in conflicts. They are given hand-outs that motivate them to get involved in the war even if they hardly understand the reason of the conflict. These results are in agreement with the results of the study conducted by Biko (2012) which concluded that the young and unemployed people are susceptible to crime including violent conflict. They can do anything available to get money, even if it remains killing members of the community and extended family members.

7.2 Politicians

According to the household heads who filled the questionnaires, only 26% agreed that politicians were the perpetrators of conflict. On the contrast, (144)36% disagreed, and (116)29% strongly disagreed. In this case, the politicians are free from the major blame in the eyes of the public. The household heads are of the opinion that the politics are not majorly the perpetrators of conflict in Wajir North Sub-County.

During FGDs with youth leaders of the peace committee, they had little to blame the politicians. They argued that sometimes politicians fund the perpetrators, but they are hardly the direct perpetrators in the conflict. Also, during the FGDs (Plate 2) the village elders argued that most of the inter-clan conflicts that occur in Wajir North are not politically motivated.

Even if sometimes the politicians are indirect actors, their role comes in when the conflicts are already on-going. The politicians come to support their people who are victims of violent conflict. One village elder during FGDs said that:

  • In this area, politicians are not the main perpetrators of conflict. We cannot say that they are completely absent during conflicts, but they are not direct perpetrators. They help us fight the enemy clan when we are already in war. They provide money to buy weapons and motivate their people to fight. (Source: Field Data December, 2018)

Oyugi (2002) argued that politicians are fond of using ethnic ideology to attain support and fame at the expense of peaceful coexistence of the member of the society in their area. Oyugi (2002) continues to argue that the politicians use negative stereotypes of the “other” community as an enemy of the “our” community. Such situations appeal to ethnic emotion towards the people the message was targeted. As a result, the communities that should be living in harmony create the impression of “us” versus “them”. Consequently, neighbors have for many days considered each other as sisters and brothers start attacking each other as it was witnessed in Kenya in 1992, 1997, 2002 and 2007 elections (KAS-EU, 2011). In Wajir North Sub-County, the politicians make the conflicts to escalate when they fund their people to empower them. They convince them to fight harder so that they will not end up being the losers.

7.3 Livestock Rustlers

The results in Table 4.1 indicate that livestock rustlers were viewed to be major perpetrators of conflict with a cumulative percentage of 95%. A small percentage of 5 disagreed with the majority of the household heads. In this case, most of the people in Wajir North are certain that conflicts are perpetrated by livestock rustlers.

During FGDs with village elders, they agreed with the results from the questionnaires that livestock rustlers are the main perpetrators of conflicts. They argued that livestock rustlers have been used for many years to avenge different issues among the communities in Wajir North. The cattle rustlers are used to accomplish revenge because of other underlying factors that trigger conflict. The perpetrators go to the neighboring village to raid animals with the aim of avenging what their neighbors did sometimes ago. They also have the mentality that the animals belong to them because the neighbors had taken the animals away from their parents and grandparents. As a result, they go and injure the neighbors who try to resist. They even kill each other in the process of taking away the animals.

The police officers from National Police Service agreed during the interviews that livestock rustlers were the main perpetrators of conflict. They are mostly in a revenge mission which makes them have a lot of accumulated anger that enables them to fight their neighbors mercilessly. One of police officer pointed out that:

  • Livestock rustlers are the ones who perpetrate conflicts in this region. They are mostly young people who are given the responsibility of protecting the community. Most of the times they are encouraged by the elderly people and their parents to raid cattle and bring the wealth back to the community. They are encouraged to go and raid animals, and eliminate anyone who tries to hinder their mission. The society reminds them that their neighbors were merciless when they did the same to them. Thus, they should make sure they accomplish their mission. (Source: Field Data, December 2018)

The FGDs and key informant interview results indicated that the conflicts are normally triggered when raiders from one community attack and steal cattle, sheep, goats and camels from the other, leading to confrontation between the communities in the process of tracing the animals, hence violence. It also emerged from the FGDs that those cattle rustlers in the area had evolved to the extent that livestock raiding has become a commercial activity. Commercialization of livestock raiding in which wealthy businessmen, politicians, traders and local people pursue economic objectives has contributed to more violent confrontation between communities affected by the conflicts (Schilling, Opiyo, & Scheffran, 2012). In this regard, there are criminal elements that steal cattle from their own communities and sell them to people in the other community, hence causing violent confrontation between members of the two clans. It is also important to note that most of the people involved in livestock rustling are the youths who are poor and jobless and who look for ways to meet their daily needs.

The culture of livestock raiding between the Ajuran and the Degodia clans has been a cultural activity and has occurred over the years with the two communities coexisting despite the incidences of cattle rustling (KAS-EU, 2011). However, the evolution of livestock raiding into a criminal activity with criminal gangs raiding communities and stealing livestock, thereby putting members of the two clans into violent confrontation is a perspective that needs proper cooperation between both the community members and security agents.

8 Socio Economic Impacts of conflict in Wajir North Sub-County , Kenya

The study sought to examine the socio-economic impacts of conflicts in Wajir North Sub-County. The results are indicated in Table 2.

Table 2 Extent to which conflicts have affected people in Wajir North Sub-County , Kenya
Impact of Conflicts Agree Strongly agree Disagree Strongly Disagree Don’t Know Total
Deaths 31%(124) 27%(108) 32%(128) 4%(16) 6%(24) 100%(400)
Injuries 36%(144) 33%(132) 24%(96) 4%(16) 3%(12) 100%(400)
Displacement of people 56%(224) 42%(168) 1%(4) 0% 1%(4) 100%(400)
Loss/Destruction/Theft of property 61%(244) 39%(156) 0%(0) 0%(O) 0%(O) 100%(400)
Rape/Defilement of Girls and Women 23%(92) 19%(76) 43%(172) 11%(44) 4%(16) 100%(400)
Suspicion between neighbors 41%(164) 24%(96) 19%(76) 7%(28) 9%(36) 100%(400)
Psychological Torture/Trauma 36%(144) 44%(176) 12%(48) 2%(8) 6%(24) 100%(400)
Family Break ups 26%(104) 18%(72) 40%(160) 11%(44) 5%(20) 100%(400)

Source: Field Data (2018)

8.1 Death s

Presence of conflict in Wajir North Sub-County has caused uncountable deaths of people. This statement is undisputable considering the type of responses obtained from the questionaiires where 31% (124) of respondents agreed that inter-clan conflicts have caused a lot of deaths in the area. Among four hundred respondents, 32% (128) of them stated in conclusion that most of the deaths occurring in Wajir North Sub-County are caused by inter-clan conflict. On the other hand, those respondents who disagreed with this statement concluded to be mere speculations. For this reason those respondent disagreed with this statement. Still in this questionnaires, 6% (24) of the respondents were neither supporting the idea that the deaths which have been occurring in Wajir North Sub-County are as results of conflict nor were they opposing it. Those respondents therefore indicated that they do not know. In this FGD the villagers who supported the point that deaths are occurring in Wajir North Sub-County as results of conflict stated that there are some days when deaths could occur on the daily basis especially during the dry season. The deaths occur especially when Degodia and Ajuran are struggling for few remaining resources or when they are conducting cattle raiding.

The villagers who felt that deaths in Wajir North Sub-County are not caused by conflict claimed that deaths in the area occur due to natural factors. This group of participants claimed that deaths which occur as a result of conflict are very minimal. Among the respondents was the mortuary attendant who said that;

  • Most of deaths occurring in Wajir North Sub-County are brought by conflict. The Degodia and Ajuran communities have modern weapons which they use either to defend themselves against their enemies or to attack other communities during the time of conflict. Most of the bodies received in various mortuaries in Wajir North Sub-County are mostly brutally murdered hence indicating that massive or crude weapons were used during the time of conflict. Some times when there is conflict between Degodia and Ajuran communities the facilities of mortuaries in Wajir town are always strained. Sometimes the mortuary attendants have to improvise other means of preserving the bodies whose have not yet been identified by the families of the deceased or to accommodate large numbers of corpses. (Source: Field Data December, 2018)

The findings on the research tend to agree with the study which was conducted by Kaprom (2013),who found that the number of deaths occurring in Wajir North Sub-County is ever rising with increase of conflict in the area. In his findings he noted that majority of Degodians and Ajuran clans are Muslims, this fact suggest that in most cases when the deaths occur among the two tribes they may not report the issue to the police as the body has to be buried same day. For this reason, there some deaths which occurs and they are not reported for the purpose of record keeping hence there could be more deaths occurring as a results of war yet they are not recorded (Kaprom, 2013).

8.2 Injuries

A good number of the residents of Wajir North Sub-County have injuries which mostly occurred during the conflict. This situation is confirmed by the data in the table 5.1 which shows that 36% (144) of respondents believes that conflict causes injuries to the member of the society. It is only 24% (96) of the respondents who opted to disagree with this idea. Again the figure 5.1 indicates that 6% (24) of the respondents did not know the appropriate answer hence they indicated that they do not know. The data in the table 5.1 was acquired after conducting FGD in one of the local market, like Bute where majority of the participants were traders.

The traders said that majority of the members of Degodia and Ajuran communities have injuries which occur during the conflict. The injuries have brought disability to some of the Ajurans and Degodians making them dependent to other members of the family. The dependency has made life difficult to the family since members have to work extra hard to provide for those who are disabled among them. The injuries bring suffering to the disabled person due to pain and psychological torture since they have to depend on other people in various ways. One of well-established trader in that particular market said the following about injuries;

  • It is saddening situation to see a healthy person becoming disabled because of reasons which could have been avoided. The conflict in Wajir North Sub-County has left many people with both major and minor injuries which has curtailed their contribution to the economic growth in this area. In some cases the injuries may cause permanent disability and later death. In case the deceased was the provider to his family this means the family will face difficulty to survive. The disability among the young people on the other hand, is affecting the progress of the economy of Wajir North Sub-County in a major way. This is because they are expected to provide the labor of which they are unable due to injuries. The injuries which occur after conflict have a lot of effects to the society in general and to the individual as it change their lives permanently. (Source: Field Data, December 2018)

A study conducted by Huho (2012) established that causes of injuries among the Degodians and Ajurans communities are conflicts. His conclusion agrees with the findings in the Figure 5.1. According to him injuries are more prevalent in some communities than others depending on how often it is involved in conflict. In Wajir North Sub-County members of the two communities which are involved in occasional conflict are Ajuran and Degodia communities. Most of the members of these communities have injuries of crude weapons where others are disabled as a result of conflict (Huho, 2012). Basing the argument on those findings one can conclude that conflict causes injuries to the people involved.

In another similar study conducted by Hassan (2012), seems to echo the findings of Huho (2012). These studies established that hospitals in Wajir North Sub-County are always full of people who are suffering from different injuries which occurred during the time of conflict. He also established that at any time when there is any form of conflict which involves Degodians and Ajuran clans there is high number of injuries reported. The studies by Hassan (2012) confirm the data in the Figure 4.1.

8.3 Displacement of People

During the time of conflict, it is obvious that some vulnerable people will be displaced from their homes. In FGD conducted in one of the refugee camp in Wajir North Sub-County 56% (224) of the participants agreed that displacement of the people is one of the impacts of conflict while 1% (4) of the participants disagreed. During the same FGD 43% (172) of the participants stated that they do not know the answer. The refugees stated that displacement of people from their home has been occurring every time there is conflict among the Degodia and Ajuran clans. During the time of displacement women and the children become vulnerable since they face difficulty in defending themselves.

The director of the refugee camp who attended the FGD stated that;

  • Displacement of people has been occurring so often in Wajir North Sub-County especially when the Degodia and Ajuran communities are involved in inter-clan conflicts. When displacement occurs it is expected that majority of the people who come to the camps are the children, women, sick, and old people. This is because they are the most vulnerable members of the society and they face difficulty when it comes to defending themselves against the rival clan. Increase in conflict in Wajir North Sub-County has been making it difficult for the government and other stake holders to sustain the high number of internally displaced people in the refugee camp. Life in the camp is so difficult for some people and it is so common for the death to occur due to outbreak of diseases. Due to high rate at which conflict occurs in Wajir North Sub-County has made some people who were displaced to settle permanently in the camp. (Source: Field Data, December 2018)

The youths are used during the time of conflict and most of cases of deaths which occur during the time of war affect the youths. The Youths are killed during the time of conflict as they fight in the battle field. The youth leaders of Peace Committees who have been the crusaders of peace in Wajir North Sub-County concurred with the statement made by director of refugee camp by stating that;

  • Displacement of the people in Wajir North Sub-County has been occurring often among the pastoralist communities especially Degodia and Ajuran clans. The Degodia and Ajuran communities displace each other so that they can occupy the land left behind by their rivals. The main objectives why Degodias and Ajurans displace each other in order for them to occupy the new land and use the new resources left behind by some of displaced people. This is why most of displacements occur during the time of drought since there is no enough pasture and the water for the animals (Source: Field Data December, 2018).

The study found out that displacement of the people is so common in Wajir North Sub-County. It is as a result of these findings Narshaney (2007) point out that there has never been a war without displacement of the people. This factor is also common among the Degodia and Ajuran clans in Wajir North Sub-County. The main reason as to why the Degodia and Ajuran clans are involved in conflict is as results of limited natural resources in the area. Narshaney (2007) also stated that the communities in Wajir North Sub-County intentionally create conflict with an aim of displacing the other communities so that they can occupy their land and enjoy the resources available. According to him some of the conflict which occurs in Wajir North Sub-County and especially between Degodia and Ajuran clans is intentional an well-orchestrated.

8.4 Loss/Destruction/Theft of property

There are many reasons why some members of the communities destabilize peace in their area of residence. Similarly some members of Degodia and Ajuran clans have been destabilizing peace in Wajir North Sub-County with an aim of destroying the property of their enemies or stealing each other property. This statement was confirmed during interview which involved different category of security officers and chiefs who work together to restore peace in Wajir North Sub-County. Among the four hundred respondents, 61% (244) of the respondents agreed that conflict which occurs in Wajir North Sub-County causes destruction of the properties and create a room where theft can be practiced conveniently. The rest of the respondents strongly agreed with this statement.

One of the chief coordinator of the peace enforcement in Wajir North Sub-County agreed that peace in the area has always been destabilized by some individuals who aim at benefiting in different ways. The coordinator said the following concerning theft in Wajir North Sub-County;

  • The conflict in the area has been affected negatively by the individuals who are either in the government or are among the most influential people in the communities. Degodia and Ajuran clans are always at conflict with each other due to different factors. All those factors are structured in such a way that some people with the community will get a chance to steal the property from the rival communities. According to the cases reported to the police there is a lot of theft done when there is no peace in this particular area. Among the property stolen include livestock and some harvested pastures to feed animals. The influential people provide the youths with weapons which are used in destabilizing the peace in Wajir North Sub-County. The items stolen are later sold to the facilitators at a cheap price. This is one of the clear indications that the influential people are involved directly in creating inter-clan conflict in Wajir North Sub-County and their activities undermine the establishment of security. (Source: Field Data, December, 2018).

The respondents agreed that there is destruction of properties during the time of conflict. The response from coordinator was supported by one of the administration police officers who argued that;

  • There are some situations where the bandits from either Degodia or Ajuran attack each other with an aim of destroying the property. When there is conflict the community involved may shoot or slaughter the live stocks or even kill the owners. In the process of conflict a lot of resources are killed. This is an indication that the bandits create commotion to get a chance to destroy the properties. Such case has brought pauperism among the residents, this make it difficult to survive in such area. Some families who were from a well to do background are now languishing in poverty. Conflict has affected the economic progress within Wajir North Sub-County in a major way. (Source: Field Data, December 2018)

During his research, Wachira (1997) concluded that theft has become a motivating factor to the people who are involved in conflict. The findings in his study suggested that conflict is created within Wajir North Sub-County to bring confusion among the residents and peace enforcement bodies. During this period of instability the Degodia and Ajuran clan steal from each other. This form of theft is conducted mostly when there is drought with an aim of replacing the animals which died due to famine. They normally refer to the process as “restocking of livestock.” This indicates that conflict leads to loss of properties among the communities involved.

8.5 Rape/Defilement of Girls and Women

Conflict is one of the factors which increase vulnerability of women and girls. This is because in most cases they are targeted by bandits who mostly rape them. However, this case is uncommon in Wajir North Sub-County basing the argument on the response obtained during FGDs in one of the sub-location in the area. Among the respondents 23% (92) of them agreed that conflict in Wajir North Sub-County brings about Rape incidences of Girls and women however 43% (172) had a contrary opinion as they disagreed with this idea. The respondents who said they do not know the answers were 4% (16). Among those who were in FGD and thought that conflict increases rape cases in the area said that women are unable to protect themselves. During the time of conflict between Degodia and Ajuran clan some men take advantage of the women and young girls hence raping them.

Those who had contrary opinion said that cases of rape as a result of conflict are very minimal. They claimed that rape cases exist all the time not only during the time of conflict. They used this as the evidence that conflict is the cause of rape of women and girls. They also stated that when there is conflict women are taken to the refugee’s camp or police station where they are offered adequate security. According to them women are not even allowed to do any role in battle field and the Degodia and Ajuran clans respect the women and the girls hence protecting them regardless of the community they come from. Among the ladies who participated in FGDs were the women who coordinate one of the organizations whose mandate is to empower women and address the challenges they face in their daily life. She criticized conflict by stating that;

  • Conflicts which occur regularly in Wajir North Sub-County among the Degodia and Ajuran has caused a lot of harm to female more than it does to males. This has left many women with different forms of sexually transmitted diseases HIV AIDs and unwanted pregnancies. Rape of women and the girls is a norm which is increasing within the Wajir North Sub-County communities and women in this region are no longer feeling safe when they are within this region. Records have shown that cases of rape increases in major way when there is conflict in the region. This proves that conflict create a conducive environment where the vices such as rape for the women and girls can be done effectively. (Source: Field Data December, 2018).

The argument of the representative of the women was strongly opposed by one of the elders who believe that cases of rape are decreasing in Wajir North Sub-County. The elder said that;

  • Women are no longer endangered during the time of conflict as it used to be. This is because the society is determined to protect them with all means. Most of the Degodia and Ajuran clans are Muslims which condemn violation of women rights. Rape cases in the region have been decreased because some of sharia laws are used to guide the conduct of the people as they interact in Wajir North Sub-County. This law is always applied to any person found guilty of committing crime during the time of conflict. (Source: Field Data, December 2018)

The research which was conducted by Zeleza (2008) has disputed findings from some of the villagers who have indicated that majority of the respondents disagreed that conflict causes rampant cases of rape to the women and girls. According to Zeleza (2008) during the time of conflict cases of rape are rampant since at such a time it is difficult to notice what is being done with the society because the attention of people are diverted toward the conflict. The Degodia and Ajuran clan fighters could sometimes rape the women of their enemies as a form of revenge. The researchers found that rape is carried out with an intention to hurt the enemies but it mostly hurt the victim (Zeleza, 2008). Such reasons are what is making the researcher believes that rape is mostly done during the time of conflict.

8.6 Suspicion between neighbors

It is normal for the communities involved in war to keep on suspecting each other due to fear of unknown. This has been proved by the findings in the table 5.1 which indicates that 41% (164) of participants agreed that level of suspicion among the society increases during the time of conflict. A small number of about 19% (76) of the participants disagreed that there is suspicion among the Degodia and Ajuran clan while 9% (36) of the respondents did not have the appropriate answer for the question. It was during the FGD when the data above was confirmed when the majority of the villagers who participated in this FGD stated that suspicions within the rival communities exist. The villager similarly said that suspicion exist among the Degodias and the Ajurans because the two clans attack each other unexpectedly and unceremoniously. The two clans choose not to ignore the conducts of each other to prevent being caught off guard.

One of the pastoralists concurred with the data in Table 5.1 as he clearly stated that;

  • Suspicion within the neighboring society has been increasing between Degodia and Ajuran clans and it has caused many innocent people to suffer. Suspicion between these two clans has also been causing occasional conflict among them due to regular attacks. Areas where there is conflict co-existence among the different communities has become almost impossible since they see each other as common enemy. Degodians and Ajurans have been using the resources of each other clan by force leading to the beginning of inter-clan conflict among them. Most of the reasons as to why conflicts occur in the area are because of livestock raiding and killing of some members which occur often between Degodia and Ajuran clans. (Source: Field Data, December 2018).

The argument of the pastoralists concurred with the findings in the table 5.1 and was later supported by one of the respondent from a key informant interview who argued as follows:

  • Mizozo zimekuwa zikitokea kila wakati haswa baina ya jamii za Degodia na Ajuran kwa sababu ya kushukiana. Jambo hili limechangia chuki kati ya jamii hizi mbili hivyo kupigana mara kwa mara haswa kunapotokea jambo ndogo ambalo laweza kusuluhishwa kwa mazungumzo. Vyombo vya usalama vimekuwa na muda mngumu kujaribu kusuluhuisha mizozo katika eneo hili. Uhusiana mbaya kati ya jamii ya Degodia na Ajuran umelemaza shuguli za kibiashara na ufanisi wa maendeleo mbali mbali ya kiserikali hivyo eneo hili limesalia nyuma katika ukuaji wa kiuchumi. Hali mbaya ya kiuchumi ambayo imesababishwa na vita baina ya jamii hizi mbili imefanya wakaaji wengi kuteseka wanapokosa huduma muhimu kama vile hospitali. (Conflict has been occurring often especially between Degodia and Ajuran communities due to hatred among them. It has been difficult to maintain peace due to strained relationship between the communities involved. The conflict among the communities has affected economy in Wajir North Sub- County. (Source: Field Data December, 2018).

In this sense the study in the table 5.1 seems to agree with the argument of Kumssa, et. al., (2009) who reported that ethnic mistrust affect the relationship of the people involved and this make them treat each other with suspicion. Similar situation happens to between Degodians and Ajurans clans. Due to suspicion a slight provocation is enough to spark off unnecessary conflict even if the issue causing hatred could have been solved amicably through negotiation. Similar study conducted by Schilling, et. al. (2012) established that both Degodia and Ajuran clans have expressed negative feeling towards each other. Such feelings toward each other have negatively affected inter-communal relationship hence leading to adoption of myth and misconception among the communities involved. The myths and misconception affect other aspect of life such as inter- marriages and therefore the two clans have no chance to understand each other. Lack of understanding is what brings about ethnic mistrust. The prevailing level of suspicion in Wajir North Sub-County between Ajuran and Degodia clans has been brought about by the conflict in the area.

8.7 Psychological Torture/Trauma

The studies sought to establish that the extent at which Psychological Torture occurs among the members of Ajuran and Degodia clans. The results in figure 5.1 point out that 36% (144) out of 400 hundred respondents believe that one of the implications of conflict is psychological torture. However, 12% (48) had a contradictory idea where they disagreed that conflict could lead psychological torture among the people involved in conflict. Among the responses received, 6% (24) of the respondent did not know the answer. The data in the figure 5.1 clearly indicates that majority of the respondent believes conflict causes psychological trauma to the affected individuals. During interview the participants stated that conflict between Degodia and Ajuran clans has led to destruction of properties and loss of lives. It takes time for the people affected to accept their encounters during time of conflict or sometimes they never accept it. This is because they are affected psychologically in a major way and it becomes difficult for them to adopt new form of life.

The data above was confirmed by the statement of one of the psychologist who participated in the interview where she said that;

  • People perceive situation in their lives in different way and so it happens during the time of conflict in any society. Conflicts have led to destruction of the properties hence worsening the living condition of the member of the communities involved. In Wajir North Sub-County many people have been impoverished by the occasional inter-clan conflicts in the area between the Degodia and Ajuran. Many innocent people have been massacred by the rival community. The form of lives of the people who are affected in conflict changes in a major way and sometime it become difficult for them to adopt the new condition of life. The unexpected changes which occur in the lives of the victims may bring about psychological torture which may lead to other health challenges. The extent of psychological torture does not occur in the same way among different victims as it depends on the prevailing condition and extent of destructions. (Source: Field Data December, 2018

The results on the figure 5.1 is in consistence with findings made by the Kenya Red Cross (2008) which postulated that cases of psychological related diseases are raising at alarming rate in Wajir North Sub-County. Additionally, the Kenya Red Cross (2008) established that those cases of psychological trauma are prevalent among the member of Degodia and Ajuran communities and the patient examined has had an encounter with conflict before. The report by the Kenya Red Cross (2008) is a clear indication that inter-clanconflict is one of the causes of psychological torture among the people involved. The report made by the Kenya Red Cross (2008) is supported with the finding made by Gurr (2000. In his research Gurr (2000) found that one of the major reason as to why many people are suffering from psychological torture is conflict. This shows that there must be psychological torture among in among the victims of inter-clan conflicts within the Degodia and Ajuran clans of Wajir North Sub-county, Wajir County.

8.8 Family Break - ups

When conflict occurs in any place there may be family break ups although it occurs in rare occasion. In similar way, the figure 5.1 has indicated that 26% (104) of the respondents agreed that when there is conflict in Wajir North Sub-County there is family break ups. There was bigger number of respondents who disagreed that conflict leads to family break up, the number of those who disagreed was 40% (160). The question was not understood by a certain potion of respondent especially those from the communities which are not involved in the war. Those respondents who did not understand the question were 5% (20) and they responded that they do not know.

Those who believed that conflict brings the family breaks ups had various reasons which they used to support their views. In general they agreed that, during the time of conflict Wajir North Sub-County people run for safety in disorganized way since they are in hurry. Some may decide to go to the neighboring country or county and begin a new life there while their family members are in different area. Being in different geographical area and without any means of communication such people give up searching for their loved one and begin new relationship. In this way the initial family tie will have been broken. According to them such situation has been mostly occurring among the Degodia and Ajuran clans who some of them get displaced to either Ethiopia or Somalia leaving back there original family members at home.

Among those who disagreed that conflict brings about break ups was Imam. He supported the finding on the figure 5.1 which indicated that majority of the people disagreed that conflict is the cause of break ups. The Imam said the following;

  • Conflict has been occurring often in this region and mostly it involves Degodia and Ajuran similarly family break ups has increased unlike before. The religious leaders have tried to establish the reason why there are so many break ups in Wajir North Sub-County. We realized that break ups which occurs due to conflict are very minimal. The religious leaders and other stakeholders have been working together to minimize the impacts of conflict on the family by trying to reunite the family members who have been separated due to conflict. Again, due to occasional conflict Wajir North Sub-County among the Degodia and Ajuran clans the society in this region have designated region where they run for safety as a family and therefore reducing break ups of the family later on they re-unity again. (Source: Field Data December, 2018).

Among the scholars who tried to find the consequences of the conflict to residence of Wajir North Sub- County was Kothari (2004). He found out that clans in Wajir North Sub- County have adapted means of survival despite the regular conflicts. According to his findings conflicts do not cause family break ups since the family have their own way of tracing their way home or location of their partner after or during the time of conflict.

9 Summary of Findings

The nature of conflicts in Wajir North Sub-county was indicated after analyzing various parameters. According to the results of the study, 384(96%) have experienced conflicts while only 16(4%) have not experienced conflicts. The results points out that majority of the residents have experienced conflicts in Wajir North Sub-County. The results of the study indicate that 276(69%) of the household heads argued that the conflicts occur frequently, 84(21%) said the conflicts occur once in a while, while 24(6%) pointed out that the conflicts occur at all times. However, 16(4%) said that there are no conflicts in the study area.

The results of the study indicate that out of the 400 household heads who responded to the questionnaires, 124(31%) said that panga/machetes are used during conflicts, 172(43%) argued that guns are used while 76(19%) pointed out that clubs/rungus are used. The remaining 28(7%) gave other weapons which included machetes, knives, bows and arrows.

According to the results of this study 97% of the household heads agreed cumulatively that youths were the major perpetrators of conflict. The results from the questionnaires are in consistent with the findings from 15(100%) village elders who agreed that the youths are the major perpetrators of conflict. According to the household heads who filled the questionnaires, only 26% agreed that politicians were the perpetrators of conflict. On the contrast, (144)36% disagreed, and (116)29% strongly disagreed. In this case, the politicians are free from the major blame in the eyes of the public. Livestock rustlers were viewed to be major perpetrators of conflict with a cumulative percentage of 95%. A small percentage of 5 disagreed with the majority of the household heads. In this case, most of the people in Wajir North are certain that inter-clan conflicts are perpetrated by livestock rustlers.

It is clear that unemployment is one of the main causes of conflict in Wajir North Sub-County. The respondents who agreed that unemployment is one of root causes of conflict in Wajir North Sub-County were 104 (26%) while 124(31%) of the respondents strongly agreed with this idea. On the same note, 76 (19%) of the respondents believe that conflict is caused by poverty, 128 (32%) respondents disagreed while 36 (9%) of the respondents did not know the response to the question. Considering the fact that the conflict in Wajir North Sub-County mainly occur between two Somali clans, study established that poverty causes conflict in rare cases.

The results of the study revealed that 96 (24%) of the respondents believes that ethnic and inter-clan mistrust is the main cause of conflict while 128 (32%) of the respondents had a contrary opinion. There were also some participants who did not know how ethnic mistrust has impacted the peaceful coexistence of Degodia and Ajuran communities. In addition, 40 (10%) of the participants claimed that they are not aware of any conflict which has ever occurred due to ethnic mistrust among the Degodia and Ajuran communities.

Land and boundary issue was mentioned to be the major reason as to why inter-clan conflict occurs often in Wajir North Sub-County. This statement was supported in enormous way as 140 (35%) of the participants associated the conflict in Wajir North Sub-County to the land and boundary issue. They agreed that the Ajuran and Degodia conflict is based on the issue to do with land and boundaries. A contradictory statement was offered by 72 (18%) of the participants who disagreed with the statement that land and boundary issues is the cause of conflict in Wajir North Sub-County. The responses of 4 (1%) of the participants was that they do not know how inter-clan conflicts could have been caused by land and conflict issues. The findings in this study postulate that 152 (38%) of the participants support that the conflict in Wajir North Sub-County among Ajurans and Degoidia is escalating due to the struggle of the resources among the members of those two clans. It also found that among the participants 76 (18%) of them did not think competition of the resources could cause conflict and therefore they disagreed.

The results indicated that 64 (16%) of the participants agreed that weak criminal justice system is the cause of conflict in Wajir North Sub-County. Their argument was opposed by 132 (33%) of the participants who disagreed that weak criminal justice system is the cause of inter-clan conflict in Wajir North Sub-County. Most of the participants disagree with the idea that weak criminal justice system causes inter-clan conflicts. Again most of the residence in Wajir North Sub-County may not be aware of criminal justice system because 24 (6%) of the participants claimed they do not know the answer.

Most of the participant mentioned culture as one of the causes of inter-clan conflict in Wajir North Sub-County. Also, 136 (34%) of the participants agreed that bad culture has been the epicenter of the conflict among the Ajuran and Degodia Somali clans. The respondents who stated otherwise were 84 (21%). This group of individual disagreed that bad culture causes conflict in Wajir North Sub-County in any way.

Among the 400 participants, 76 (19%) of them agreed that historical injustice causes inter-clan conflict among the Ajuran and Degodia in Wajir North Sub-County. Also, 100 (25%) of the participants opted to disagree that the historical injustice is the cause of conflict, while 32 (8%) stated that they do not know the answer. This data indicates that majority of the participants disagree that historical injustice is the cause of conflict among the Ajuran and Degodia clans.

Political leaders have been trying to bring peace and stability in the Wajir North Sub County but in some cases it has been realized that they play role in castigating or rather promoting inter-clan conflict in the area. The results indicate the answers obtained through the questionnaires from Wajir North Sub-County residents indicate that 108 (27%) of the participants believes that politicians have been playing a key role in the conflict which has been taking place in Wajir North Sub-County. Additionally, 64 (16%) of the participants disagreed that political leadership has been the cause of inter-clan conflicts and 56 (14%) claimed that they do not know the role of political leadership in the inter-clan conflicts occurring in Wajir North Sub-County. At the same time the inter-clan conflicts in the study area are manifested through quarrels, physical fights, brandishing of weapons, pointing accusing fingers at each other, trading accusations and insults among others. This has resulted to recurrence of inter-clan conflicts in the study area.

10 Conclusion and Recommendations

The study concludes that there are frequent inter-clan conflicts experienced in Somali Community in Wajir North Sub-County Wajir County, Kenya. Also that, these inter-clan conflicts have affected the local inhabitants negatively especially on their socio-economic wellbeing. It has caused deaths, injuries, displacements of persons, loss and destruction of property among others.

This study recommends sensitization and awareness campaigns by the National Government and County Governments and other Non-state actors on the vitality of peace and co-existence among warring communities.

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Article Details


Issue: Vol 6 No 8 (2019)
Page No.: 5580-5595
Section: Research Article
DOI: https://doi.org/10.18535/ijsshi/v6i8.06

How to Cite

Aengwony, R. K., Iteyo, P. C., & Simiyu, D. R. (2019). Nature and Extent of Inter-Clan Conflicts in the Somali Community in Wajir North Sub-County, Kenya. The International Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities Invention, 6(8), 5580-5595. https://doi.org/10.18535/ijsshi/v6i8.06

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