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Africa politics

The Shifta - Kenya's infamous civil war

First of all you need to know that the word shifta was a Gvt. creation to conceal the true nature of the war.

The truth of the matter according to Wikipedia is that it was a secessionist conflict in which the ethnic Somali's in the NFD current North Eastern Province attempted to secede from Kenya to join Somalia.

The Kenyan government in an effort to contain the situation, waged a war which is alleged to have caused untold atrocities to the NFD as Kenya's millitary had a field dayBut the war ended in 1967 when Mohamed Haji Ibrahim Egal, the Somali PM signed a ceasefire with Kenya at the Arusha conference on 23rd Oct'1967.


From 1926 - 1934, the NFD was closed by the British colonial authorities. But on 26th June 1960, the British declared Somali a unified region.

However, after the desolution of the British rule in East Africa, the NFD was handed over to Kenya.

But led by the NPPPP, the Somali's of the NFD sought a union with the Somali republic to the North.

This prompted the Kenyan Gvt. react with the following measures:

a) Their leaders were placed in preventive detentions upto late 70s.

b) The NFD was closed for general access

e) The Gvt. constantly reffed to the secessionist movement as shiftas.


Jomo Kenyatta and Haile Selassie signed a mutual defence treaty which stands todate that incase either is attacked, the other will protect come in aide.

Steps to stamp out the secessionists movement

1) State of emergency was declared on the NFD and people could be detained for upto 56 days without trial.

2) Property were confiscated.

3) A prohibited zone was created along the Somali border

4) Death penalty was mandatory for unauthorized arms possession.

5) Special courts were created but without a guaranteed due process.

6) The Gvt. adopted vigilisation in the war affected areas in 1967 when the people were put into 24 Manyattas and guarded with the troops.

But in 1967, Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia mediated for peace between Kenyatta and Egal. And in Oct'1967 there was a signing of MOU in Arush.

But Siad Bare trushed the MOU leading to small time skirmishes at the border between Somali and Kenya.

This climaxed into KDFs incursion into Somalia since 2010.

Do you think the Somalis of the NFD were justified to seek secession?

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Arusha East Africa Kenya NFD Somali


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