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Frustrated Garissa residents urged not to cross into Somalia, live as IDPs

Frustrated Garissa residents urged not to cross into Somalia, live as IDPs

Garissa county commissioner Joshua Chepchieng has said the government is not out to harass and intimidate residents.

He was responding to complaints raised on Friday by leaders during Madaraka Day celebrations at Garissa Primary School.

The leaders alleged that an imam disappeared in Liboi and said security officers are harassing people at the Tana bridge police barrier.

Supkem national organising secretary Abdullahi Salat and Galbeth MCA Abdirizak Ismail criticised the requirement that passengers alight from buses and queue holding their IDs. It said it is not only disrespectful, but a way to intimidate.

Last week more than 300 people from the border town crossed to Somalia in protest after several people disappeared. They said they are picked up by government agencies.

“We demand unconditional release of all people picked. You are the same people radicalising our people by such actions,” MCA Ismail said.

But Chepcheing urged residents to remain calm and patient as the problem is being handled.

“It’s not wise for our people to cross over to Somalia as IDPs, while we can talk and resolve issues. We have explained our position as the government on the matter and it is being handled,” he said.

Chepcheing said inspection of passengers at the bridge is done “in good faith”. 

“Security officers manning the barrier have clear instructions on how to handle passengers. But in case one or two officers have gone overboard, they should be reported and necessary disciplinary action taken against them,” he said.

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