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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

State Urged to Compensate Wagalla Massacre Victims

Updated 7 hr(s) 21 min(s) ago
By Ally Jamah
The Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission sitting in Wajir has heard from three witnesses who recounted the events of February 1984 at the airstrip where the Wagalla massacre allegedly happened.
One of the witnesses, Bishar Ibrahim Ishmael, who was a Government official during the period when the alleged massacre occurred, said he identified the Government and security officials who were at the airstrip between February 8 and 16, that year.
Mr Bishar said by February 8, about 2,000 people had been rounded up at the airstrip and by February 16, about 5,000 people had been brought from far as Mandera.
Bishar later recalls seeing two truckloads of dead people, being driven out of the airstrip.
"I can identify the actual Government official and army personnel, who were here during that period. I also can identify the vehicles they drove and the number plates of these vehicles," said Bishar.
The commission heard that in 2003, the Narc Government had promised the construction of Wagalla memorial and public library.
"All we want from the Government is a formal apology for us to move on,’’ said Bishar.
He said upon accepting responsibility, the Government should compensate the people of Wagalla in accordance to the Somali traditions. He said the compensation would be five camels for each man killed.
The commission also heard the area is socially and economically marginalised and the trend must be changed. Witnesses cited the poor state of health and educational facilities in Wajir and greater North Eastern region, saying it resulted to poor education standards and health challenges.
Wajir has 34 witnesses identified and the hearings end on Wednesday.
TJRC is mandated to inquire into human rights violations, including those committed by the State, groups or individuals between December 12, 1963 and February 2008.
The violations include but are not limited to politically motivated violence, assassinations, community displacements, settlements and evictions.
TJRC will also inquire into major economic crimes, in particular grand corruption, historical land injustices and the illegal and irregular acquisition of land especially as these relate to conflict or violence within the stated period of time.
The commission will receive statements from victims, witnesses, communities, interest groups, persons directly or indirectly involved in events or any other group or individual; undertake investigations and research; hold hearings and engage in activities as it determines to advance national or community reconciliation.

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