On the way to Garissa last week we got stopped at a road block for an hour – others had been waiting much longer at the junction (see above picture, I’m not sure if you can make it out but armed police are standing by large plastic road blocks they pulled into the street that have about 6 inch long nails sticking out of them). We were 20 minutes away from our final destination and had already driven 5 hours, so we decided to wait it out, rather than go down the other road which we were told would take an additional 5 hours.
We were stopped because there was violence up ahead on the road. Two matatu (basically mini-bus drivers) groups were fighting over routes. A few people were killed including one police officer. The Somalian matatu used bows and arrows to fight while hiding in bushes on the side of the road. When they opened the road there were many police, we saw that a car had been burned, a police windshield cracked, and there were many broken bottles in the road. Supposedly the fighting had started Monday and cooled down during the night but then picked back up that morning. Word is that the Somalians are quite heated about it and are likely to counter-attack as soon as the police presence reduces. Two guns were stolen from the police, I’ve been told that you never take a gun from the police, they will hunt it down. The police have since recovered the AK-47 but are still looking for the pistol.