The agony of being a resident of NFD.
Last week’s incident in Garissa where Kenya Defense Forces went on the rampage culminating in pilferage, torching of property and shooting of women and children after three of their colleagues were murdered in cold blood by unknown assailants, have left many gobsmacked and still reeling from the consternation.

The week before over 40 policemen were mercilessly killed in Turkana County by cattle rustlers. No reports of repercussions were cited in Turkana. No looting. No shooting. No crippling of economy. But the scenario in Garissa was starkly different.

Whether KDF’s atrocities in Garissa were planned or whimsical is yet to be established.
The army’s destruction in Garissa bore conspicuous resemblance to that of Mathare thugs attacking Kenyans of Somali origin. There was a tiny shred of difference, if not none, in their actions. They all targeted people of particular origin. An action that culminated in loss of innocent Somali lives.

Hardly did one anticipate this to happen in this era!  An epoch that have seen Kenya on the verge of transforming to a full-blown democracy with significant judicial and political metamorphosis. Hardly did one anticipate to relive an actual flashback of Garissa Gubay and Wagalla. But it happened to the dismay and chagrin of the ordinary man and local politicians as well.

NFD has had it’s fair share of heinous human right violations during the emergency years, with individual abridgement. But for this to be repeated in 2012 is an apparent indication of the soldiers acting arbitrary, fearing no consequence for their heinous actions, having in mind the historical and unresolved injustices inflicted on the people of NFD. This event goes to remind the Kenyan Somali of his delicate position in the Kenyan society and the anguish of being a Somali in Kenya.

We thought we’ve come far off the Wagalla days, but this incident have made our assumed imagination of emancipation a mirage. A pipe dream of sorts.

The military's rampage in Garissa was apparently a reflective account of NFD's unfortunate position in Kenya since 60s. A deliberate reflection of Nep's ordinary man's place in Kenya. The soldiers' obvious disregard in upholding the law signify their 'no fear of consequences' mantra when handling operations in Nep. Not only was it sad and to the embarrassment of the local politicians, but mournful that such incidents would not happen to other communities of Kenya. Even the mutilation of dozens of policemen in Turkana didn't trigger such a reaction. This indicates Nep's place in Kenya despite the extensive judicial and political transformation that's taking place after the promulgation of the new constitution.

And the aftermath blaming of the locals for lack of cooperation is to create a suspicious cognitive dissonance amongst the locals to justify the aggressors' sins. They've already partially succeeded, having some locals sympathizing with the soldiers. But does killing of soldiers justify the pilferage and killing of women and children of Garissa? Is KDF’s actions justified on the feeble assumption of ‘lack of cooperation’ by Garissa people? Will Kenya’s continual ill-treatment of Somalis remain perpetual?

Of course, citizens have a civil responsibility to contribute to the security of their regions. People of Garissa need to organize and cooperate with the relevant authorities and weed out the few that are behind the chaos. But what happened in Garissa is never pardonable and KDF should be held responsible.

Eventually, the government has to answer. Let's hope this incident isn't swept under the carpet just as Garissa gubay and Wagalla. Hope that the victims attain justice from these ninnies that partook in this operation. But one is certain, the atrocious treatment experienced by the people of Garissa have truly initiated a reinvigorated awakening of the Kenyan Somali. The Kenyan Somali, though dormant in previous incidents, is tentatively on the rise. Let’s hope the Kenyan Somalis of today will pursue other civil routes within and outside Kenya.That this incident won't go quite as Wagalla, Garissa Gubay and others did.

Whether the operation was ordered by the chief-of-staff, the provincial security committee or was an arbitrary mutiny of soldiers is of no value to the victims and members of NFD, but Garissa’s incident reminded Kenyan Somalis of their delicate position and vulnerability.

Abdiaziz Abdikadir is an independent freelance of Coventry University

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