Bandits on the Border: The Last Frontier in the Search for Somali Unity - By Nene Mburu.
In the early 1990s, Somalia was in the spotlight for factionalism as Warlords, clans, and sub-clans doggedly wrenched their fiefdoms from the Polyglot State through bloody civil wars. In contrast, thirty years earlier the Somali were pre-occupied with the struggle for stitching together the five Somali-inhabited enclaves of the Horn of Africa into one ‘Greater Somalia’. Bandits on the Border revisits pan-Somalia nationalism of the 1960s when Kenyan Somalis attempted to secede and join the Somalia State which had been created after the merger of the former British Somaliland with the Italian Trusteeship.
This book is the first insider’s analysis of the so-called Shifta secessionist war of the early 1960s and its degeneration into apolitical banditry that continues in the former Northern Frontier Districts of Kenya (NFD). The author argues that in the late 1950’s Britain’s crumbling colonial empire was beyond salvage and, having just fought the Mau Mau, the colonial power could not risk another protracted war in Kenya. It therefore procrastinated a resolution of the ‘Somali question’ until it handed over political power to Jomo Kenyatta’s government. Nevertheless, having neglected and insulated the Somali community/region from the mainstream Kenyan society for sixty years, Britain bequeathed Kenyatta an advanced security problem that required time and long-term economic investment to eradicate collective disaffection and secessionism.
The book also explores the dynamics of the Shifta insurrection in its geopolitical context to illustrate why Somalia’s irredentist foreign policy was unsustainable. It details how the Shifta war was affected by, and correspondingly affected, the realpolitik of the prevailing Cold War. It also gives a detailed comparative analysis with other secessionist wars taking place in Africa. Lastly, the book explores the symmetrical connexion between insecurity in the NFD, the collapsed Somali State, and America’s war on international terrorism particularly after the bombing of the US embassies in eastern Africa and the attacks in USA of 11 September 2001.
Paperback: 276 pages
Publisher: Red Sea Press (April 1, 2005)
Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6 x 8.5 inches
Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces