March for peace in terror-ravaged Kenya

2015-06-14 11:56
Kenya Red Cross staff help a woman after she viewed the body of a relative killed in the attack on Garissa university, at Chiromo funeral home, Nairobi, Kenya. (AP Photo)

Kenya Red Cross staff help a woman after she viewed the body of a relative killed in the attack on Garissa university, at Chiromo funeral home, Nairobi, Kenya. (AP Photo)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Garissa - More than a thousand young men and women from northeast Kenya began a 800km peace march this weekend against rampant insecurity and terrorism in the region.

The "Walk of Hope" from Garissa, where gunmen killed close to 150 people in April, to Mandera, where militants launch regular raids and ambushes, is designed to draw attention to the frequent terrorist attacks launched by the Shebab, a Somali-led al-Qaeda affiliate.

Underscoring the area's danger, Shebab gunmen were blamed for a fresh attack on Saturday evening just hours after the peace march began. There were no casualties reported in the raid on Bulla-Golol village, near Garissa.

"Security is not only the work of government officials and security agencies, it is the role of every patriotic Kenyan," said local government official Stephen Orindi as the march, expected to take about 30 days, began.

Purpose 'to give hope'

It comes after 142 students and six security officers were killed at Garissa University on 2 April, leading to the collapse of education, health services and the construction industry as fearful non-locals flee the region.

In the university massacre and other recent terrorist attacks local Muslims have been spared while Christians, often from other parts of the country, have been targeted by the gunmen.

Dozens of public primary and secondary schools did not reopen for the start of the new term in May after 1 000 teachers refused to work citing security fears. Education official Noor Ibrahim said a quarter of Garissa county's 178 primary schools were closed.

The region's only medical college, in Garissa town, has also shut, with its 200 students transferring to Kenya's safer southern parts.

"We want to use the walk to create awareness among communities in the northern region faced with immense challenges ranging from terrorism, clan skirmishes and other natural calamities to unite to face these challenges head on," said march organiser Salah Abdi Sheikh, a local activist.

"The purpose of this trek is to give hope to the people in the region," he said.

The peace marchers plan to stop in remote, neglected villages along the way to talk about the risks of clan conflict and promote peaceful coexistence.

The marchers, who will spend a month trekking across the harsh, arid terrain in scorching temperatures, will be assisted by rescue vehicles and a team of medical personnel.

Read more on:    kenya  |  garissa attack

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.