The North Eastern Province (Somali: Gobolka Woqooyi Bari) is one of the former Provinces in Kenya. It has a land area of 127,358.5 km², with its capital at Garissa. Previously known as the Northern Frontier District (NFD), the territory was carved out of the Jubaland region of present-day southern Somalia during the colonial period. It is and has historically been primarily inhabited by ethnic Somalis.
The Northern Frontier District came into being in 1925, when it was carved out of the Jubaland region in present-day southern Somalia. At the time under British colonial administration, the northern half of Jubaland was ceded to Italy as a reward for the Italians' support of the Allies during World War I. Britain retained control of the southern half of the territory, which was later called the Northern Frontier District (subsequently renamed the North Eastern Province).
On June 26, 1960, four days before granting British Somaliland independence, the British government declared that all Somali-inhabited areas of East Africa should be unified in one administrative region. However, after the dissolution of the former British colonies in the region, Britain granted administration of the Northern Frontier District to Kenyan nationalists despite an informal plebiscite demonstrating the overwhelming desire of the region's population to join the newly formed Somali Republic, and the fact that the NFD was almost exclusively inhabited by ethnic Somalis.
On the eve of Kenya's independence in August 1963, British officials belatedly realized that the new Kenyan regime was not willing to give up the Somali-inhabited areas it had just been granted administration of. Led by the Northern Province People's Progressive Party (NPPPP), Somalis in the NFD vigorously sought union with their kin in the Somali Republic to the north. In response, the Kenyan government enacted a number of repressive measures designed to frustrate their efforts in what came to be known as the Shifta War:
Somali leaders were routinely placed in preventive detention, where they remained well into the late 1970s. The North Eastern Province was closed to general access (along with other parts of Kenya) as a "scheduled" area (ostensibly closed to all outsiders, including members of parliament, as a means of protecting the nomadic inhabitants), and news from it was very difficult to obtain. A number of reports, however, accused the Kenyans of mass slaughters of entire villages of Somali citizens and of setting up large "protected villages" -- in effect concentration camps. The government refused to acknowledge the ethnically based irredentist motives of the Somalis, making constant reference in official statements to the shifta (bandit) problem in the area.
Although the conflict ended in a cease-fire, Somalis in the region still identify and maintain close ties with their brethren in Somalia. They have traditionally married within their own community and formed a cohesive ethnic network.
As of 2009, the North Eastern Province has a population of 2,310,757 residents. It is almost entirely inhabited by ethnic Somalis. The main Somali clans in the area are the Ogaden Almost 893,344, Garre, 27,230 and Degodia 100,400 .
North Eastern Province has thirteen constituencies represented in the National Assembly of Kenya.
As the capital of Garissa County, Garissa is the seat of the County Government of Garissa as well as the County Assembly. The city is represented by Aden Bare Duale, a Somali Member of Parliament for the Garissa Township Constituency and who also doubles as the Leader of the Majority in the legislature. He was appointed to the position in the 2013 General Elections. Wajir is the largest County in the former north eastern province with approximately an area of 56,000km2.
Livestock production is a significant part of the region's economy. Between 2005 and 2007, Garissa cattle producers earned over 1.8 billion shillings in sales in domestic and overseas markets. Construction on a new abattoir also began in October 2007. In terms of livestock imports, most of Garissa's cattle comes from cross-border trade between Somali livestock merchants.
North Eastern Province is served by the Wajir Airport. It handles about seven flights per day. As of September 2012, civil flights are offered twice a week by Echo. Most flights, however, are cargo. Some charter and military flights are additionally accommodated.
North Eastern Province has a semi-arid and hot desert climate (Köppen BSh and BWh). Rain falls infrequently, usually only around April or October, and quite sporadically from year to year.
There are no major rivers, aside from a few tributaries of the Jubba River. Wildlife in the area include the gazelle and giraffe.