Hundreds of Wajir residents flocked to the streets on Wednesday, 10th February to mark 36 years since the massacre at the Airstrip in Wagalla, about 10 kilometers to the west of Wajir Town.
This time the commemoration was different from the ones before, it was the first after the death of the main orchestrator retired President Moi that opened new wounds.
It is believed that under Moi’s rule, Kenyan Security Forces rounded up 5000 Somali men at Wagalla Airstrip in Wajir County , prevented them from accessing food and water for Four days before shooting them in the fifth day between February 10 to 14, 1984.
The commemorators were made up of the families of the victims , survivors of the massacre and the general public. Some were carrying placards written on messages of seeking justice while others narrating the painful ordeal and the rest praying for the victims.
The survivors also criticized the current administration for failing to implement TJRC report and not compensating the victims even after many lobby groups and other recognized bodies availed enough evidence of the massacre.
” the Mau Mau and others who were victims of colonial torture were compensated why not us, don’t we deserve compensation?” Said one of the survivors while fighting back tears.
36 years down the line the government of Kenya is yet to compensate the victims of Wagalla massacre neither prosecute the perpetrators, the much they received was President Kenyatta’s apology to all the victims of the atrocities carried out by the government in his annual state of national address in 2015.
Also, through the effort of Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) and other partners, a monument with names of 482 victims engraved on marble and pasted on a wall was constructed and unveiled in Wajir Town.
“These names were taken from the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission report and subjected to a thorough validation exercise for purposes of ensuring that they were indeed names of the people who lost their lives as a result of the massacre,” KNCHR said at the time.
As retired President Moi exits the stage, the people of Wajir County especially the victims of Wagalla massacre’s hope of justice dwindles , but they still pray that all will not go with the death of Moi.
Till date, Wagalla Massacre represents the worst human rights violation in Kenya’s history.
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