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Mar 19, 2013

TURKANA: Security to be beefed up around Lake Turkana



Hundreds of families displaced by persistent armed conflict on the Kenya-Ethiopia border have not returned to their homes despite joint security operations by the two countries to contain banditry and cattle rustling activities.
The more than 4,000 people are still camping at Lowareng’ak area after they were displaced last year from their Todonyang’ home, some 30 kilometres away from the common border.
Turkana North District Commissioner Abdi Mohammed on Tuesday disclosed plans to post marine police to patrol insecurity prone Lake Turkana to check attacks by the Turkana and Merille from Ethiopia.
“Additional marine police are to be deployed to Lake Turkana and Rapid Police Deployment Unit set along the border lines to contain further attacks,” said Mr Mohammed.
He explained that Kenyan and Ethiopian administration has been involved in peace negotiations to promote harmonious relationship between communities from the two countries.
Members of the Turkana community have been engaged in protracted armed conflict with Merille pastoralists from Ethiopia caused by disputes over water and pasture.
“Arrangements have been put in place to facilitate the families to return to their previous homes and find long lasting peace along the border,” said Mr Mohammed.
He disclosed that deployment of marine police to Lake Turkana will facilitate smooth fishing activities, which is the main source of livelihood to members of the Turkana and Merille communities.
Commercial fishing activities at the Lake suffered a downturn after most traders vacated the area following recurrent attacks by militias that have led to loss of lives and fishing gear.
“Fishing is the main source of livelihood to the locals apart from livestock and beefing up of security along the shores will enable them to venture into commercial fishing activities and generate more income to improve their living standards,” explained Mr Mohammed.
At the same time leaders and provincial administrators from Kenya and Ethiopia have resumed peace initiatives to foster harmonious relationship among pastoralists from the two countries.
Leaders from Ethiopia will meet their Kenyan counterparts next week to resolve armed conflict between members of the Turkana and Nyang’atom and Merille communities caused by dispute over water and pasture.

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