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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Details and Evidence from Garissa Gubay Massacre brought before TJRC


Truth team receives evidence on killings

By  Issa Hussein

Posted  Tuesday, April 12 2011 at 22:00
  • Witnesses accuse security officers of shooting, raping and detaining Garissa residents
One of the first witnesses before the truth commission now sitting in Garissa on Tuesday recalled the massacre of 300 people in 1980.
Mr Hamud Sheikh Mohamed, a retired public health officer, told the hearing at the Garissa Public Library that security personnel rounded up residents of Garissa Town, shot at people indiscriminately, raped others and torched houses.
A total of 300 people were killed in the Garissa Gubay massacre.
The witnesses were selected to testify in some cases from among 870 registered with the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission in the region.
Many of the cases are connected to the Garissa Gubay, Bulla Karatasi, Balamballa and shifta war massacres, which affected hundreds of local residents.
Mr Mohamed said people were detained for more than 48 hours with no food or water and left in the scorching sun.
He said the residents suffered for cases where bandits from Somalia killed police officers leading to deaths, destruction and confiscation of livestock.
“At Dujis Dam, 100 camels were killed after security officers pursuing bandits sprayed bullets on the herd as it drank water,” he told the commission.
Other massacres mentioned at the hearing were Galamagala, Liboi and Madogashe, all linked to security personnel flushing out bandits from the region.
Cases of discrimination in the issuance of identity cards, birth certificates and passports were also mentioned. Mr Hassan Osman, a retired civil servant, said that he lost a scholarship after he was denied a passport.
“Some 340 Form Four leavers from Garissa County had their applications for identity cards cancelled by the provincial administration despite going through a labyrinth vetting process,” Mr Osman said.
Lack of ID cards had curtailed freedom of movement, he said, because they are required at police check points on the roads.
Among those who have been summoned to give their side of the story on the past atrocities are the Kenyan ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Francis Sigei, who once served as a district commissioner in Garissa.
Witnesses asked for protection from harassment, saying some of their evidence was against serving officers. However, commissioner Ahmed Farah assured them that there would be no intimidation from State agencies.
The hearing continues until Thursday.

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