Dozens were feared dead on Tuesday following an attack in Turkana by suspected Merille bandits from Ethiopia.
Although relief agencies put the number of those killed at 18, police said late yesterday that just five deaths had been confirmed.
Parliament was told by a local MP that 35 people had been killed, while other unofficial sources put the number of those dead as high as 40.
The victims were killed while taking a rest after a night-long fishing expedition at the source of Lake Turkana. The area of attack is about 170 kilometres from Lodwar town.
The Government has recovered 20 bodies of the Todonyang massacre that occurred along the Kenya–Ethiopia border on Monday.
The bodies, mostly women and children with gunshot wounds, were littered in the plains of Todonyang in Turkana North, one Kilometre from Todonyang police post.
The bodies were recovered as 50 other people were reported missing and some of them are feared dead.
Two other people including a woman who survived the ordeal by lying down and pretending to be dead were nursing serious gunshots wounds at a local hospital.
On Wednesday, the Government confirmed that the Merille militia from Ethiopia killed 20 Turkana pastoralists inside Kenyan territory when they were returning home from a barter trade at the border point.
The government has protested to Ethiopia on the Turkana killings.
At the same time, fresh information suggests five more people may have been killed by Merille bandits two days after 20 others were shot dead.
Turkana North district commissioner Jack Opuo could neither confirm nor deny the killings at Todonyang on the Kenya-Ethiopia border, saying security personnel had been dispatched to investigate the incident.
“Security personnel have been sent to verify the alleged killings,” said Mr Opuo on phone.
But residents fleeing the insecurity-hit area said among the dead were Mr Edapal Lokoyo, his two daughters, a Mr Nakonyi and another person.
“The victims were escaping from the trouble-hit area when they were shot dead,” said Ms Jacinta Ekai by telephone. She termed the killing an act of provocation.
Mr Opuo said a security meeting between administrators from the two countries would be held tomorrow to quell tension following the killing of 20 Kenyans.
A contingent of security personnel has been deployed to Todonyang to contain rising tension following the attacks.
Another 11 people are feared dead after Ethiopian fighters raided Kokuro, Turkana North District.
The Tuesday evening attack came barely a day after Merille raiders attacked Todonyang on Monday, leaving more than 30 people dead.
Turkana North DC Jack Obuo Thursday said he could not verify the number of people killed.
"As per now I cannot verify the number of people killed, but I will give details once my men return from the scene," Obuo Said.
The attack came even as the Government wrote a protest note to Ethiopia over the border clashes.
Internal Security Assistant Minister Orwa Ojode and Permanent Secretary Francis Kimemia told the Ethiopian authorities to arrest and prosecute those behind the killings that have also displaced hundreds of residents.
By VINCENT BARTOO AND LUCAS NG’ASIKE
Their stares betray the wretchedness of being abandoned by their Government and forced into painful surrender to their fate. Their bodies are emaciated, cheeks sunken, skins dry and brittle from dust and thirst, and their hair literally falling off.
They are in the firm grip of famine and staring at a slow and painful death from hunger! Elsewhere in the country they call Kenya are signs of full stomachs and conspicuous consumption, yet in their furnace called Turkana — because of the vagaries of weather — crops shrivel and die, and all sources of water dry up. They are reduced to the life of prehistoric sub-humans who forage for food in the wild, and eat anything just to live one more day.
Looking at the skeletal frames of their children, some as light as a kilo of sugar, jolts and sears the heart — and begets the question: where is the Government? Many lie sprawled in hunger on the dusty bowl that is their region; if they are Kenyans, why they have they been left to face certain early by a Government they probably just get to know every five years when elections come around.
It is to one of them that we talked and got the story of how they were last week baited by their traditional enemies to cross over to Ethiopia with the promise of sweet food only to be gunned down and slaughtered like animals after hours of feasting.
By Bisrat Berhane (on The Reporter , Ethiopia)
The report that Northern Kenya MPs have vowed to stop the construction of Gibe III hydroelectric power in Ethiopia, which was published in The Reporter under the title “Government smooth over Kenyan MPs power grumbles,” on May 21 is a clear proof that one of the frequent contributor of the newspaper, Sam Akaki, the Ugandan-born British citizen in London, was absolutely right to warn “everyone should recognise that hydro-electric power is not only a temporary measure which will sustain Ethiopia’s economic growth for a limited period. It will also vindicate the merchants of doom who are prophesising that the Third World War will be over the humble water.” (Nuclear, Solar energy: the ultimate solution to Africa’s energy crisis (14t May)
First it was the Egyptians who complained endlessly about our hydro-electric power projects in the north, and now the Kenyans are complaining from the south. When and where will the next complaint come from?
This question leaves the Ethiopian government with two choices.
One choice is take seriously Sam Akaki’s warning that because of population explosion, “Africans are struggling for the limited basic resources (land and water) as wild animals do over carcasses; thus triggering a vicious cycle of civil and [cross-boarder wars], poverty, famine, diseases, refugee exodus and more environmental degradation and poverty.”
The other choice is to follow Ambassador Dina Mufti, spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), who has said that “individual MPs in Kenya have the right to comment and can complain about anything regarding the construction of Gilgel Gibe III. What matters is the position of their government.” Really?
Posted on CBS News by Celia Hatton.
It's a story that truly spans the globe: Activists from all over the world, including San Francisco, are trying to stop the construction of a dam in Ethiopia financed by a Chinese bank.
The Gibe 3 Dam is in the early phases of construction on Ethiopia's powerful Omo River, using $500 million dollars in equipment funded by the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC). The hydroelectric dam, one of the largest construction projects in Ethiopia's history, would regulate the flow of water along the Omo River as it courses through Ethiopia and into Kenya's massive Lake Turkhana -- a freshwater oasis in the heart of the desert.
The project has been mired in controversy since it was just a blueprint. The World Bank and the European Investment Bank financed smaller hydroelectric projects on the Omo River, but dropped consideration of the Gibe 3 Dam after viewing the environmental impact report commissioned by the Ethiopian government. Activists say the World Bank and the African Development Bank lost interest in the project after considering its social and ecological implications on the region's fragile ecosystem stretching across Ethiopia and northern Kenya. The European Investment Bank also dropped consideration of the Gibe 3 Dam, although its reasons for doing so are unclear.
Residents of Todonyang area of Turkana, who fled their homes following an attack by the Merile over a month ago, are still yet to return to their homes. They say the government has not beefed up security in the area s promised and they are now living in fear of attacks. The Ethiopian government is however said to have embarked on evacuating the Merile from Kenyan territory, along the Kenya Ethiopian border.
Watch the video below as posted by leading Kenyan broadcasters NTV on their YouTube channel
A Finnish newspaper on Monday 27 June 2011 published an article warning that the world is about to lose it's largest desert lake. It would be interesting to see how the Finns reacted to this. The online article is in a pay-to-read section of the newspaper's website but our good friend Pirjo, or @Pihanne on Twitter, generously translated this article from the print paper she bought that morning. Her translation starts below.
Gibe 3 dam doubles Ethiopia’s energy production, but is threatening to destroy the lives of hundreds of thousands Kenyans
World’s largest desert lake, which is found in Kenya, is in danger of the same fate as Lake Aral.
Specialists say that the mega dam, which is being built in the neighbouring country Ethiopia, may drain Lake Turkana.
Lake Aral , which is located in the border of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, dried up in large areas into a desert due to the irrigation projects , which were implemented by the Soviet Union.
“Sooner or later the history will repeat itself in Lake Turkana” says environment counsellor Mr. Pertti Sevola from the Ostrobothnia’s business-, transport- and environment centre.
Ethiopia is building the world’s fourth largest dam in Omo river, which flows to Lake Turkana.
Gibe 3 dam is supposed to double Ethiopia’s energy production and supply irrigation water to fields, which the government has leased to Saudi -Arabia and China. One of the largest banks in China is financing the project.
Lake Turkana is almost 1,5 times the size of Finland’s Lake Saimaa.
The recent environmental report by the United Nations Environment Programme estimates that the irrigation projects will lower the lake between 7 to 20 meters, depending on the amount of irrigation water to be used.
Lower water levels will have an effect on fish catch and threatens to dry up wells, which are the only sources of clean fresh water for hundreds of thousands of people. This is the price that Kenyans are having to pay, so that Ethiopia will get cheap energy and investments from countries craving for arable land.
“Local communities have totally been forgotten.It’s outrageous”, says Pertti Sevola.
When water level gets lower the salt content will increase. There are 60 fish species living in the lake and part of them will suffer from the changes to the lake.The dam will also have an effect on the amount of nutrients flowing from the river to the lake. Reproduction of fish species depends on the natural annual cycle of the river.
“The whole reproduction cycle is under threat. It can end very badly”, says the professor emeritus of zoology,Mr. Ossi L. Lindqvist, from the University of East-Finland.
When the 151 kilometers long dam basin is filled up during the rainy season water levels in the river will get as low as during dry season.This will have a direct effect on the lake, which gets 90 percent of it’s water from the river.
Dam construction project has been on since 2006 and it will likely be completed by the summer of 2013.
The project has been controversial since the planning stages. Among other things the World Bank withdrew from financing the project due to it’s hazardous impact on the environment.
Here is a picture of the article as it appeared on the Finnish newspaper
The concept of hungry people being threatened by starvation, accompanied by appeals for humanitarian help at the national and regional levels, are as old as the modern African states. But to say that this season’s erratic rains have caused the problem is to evade the issue. Neither is it right to blame the food crisis on the fact that sections of the Horn of Africa have vast arid and semi-arid lands, nor is it acceptable to make a blanket condemnation against climate change. Pointing fingers at humanitarian agencies for failing to act on time, or toward the international community for its certain degree of indifference, won’t help either. These are replays of perennial official excuses to create a national and regional calamity where there ought to be none.
Milford Sound in New Zealand
And out of these perennial official excuses, an estimated 10-12 million people are now affected by the worst drought in more than half a century, according to the United Nations. More than 166,000 desperate Somalis are estimated to have already fled their country to neighbouring Kenya or Ethiopia. Of those being threatened by starvation, 2 million of them are children. UNICEF says that hunger and disease are claiming the life of a child every 6 minutes in the hardest hit areas of Somalia. It is appalling that in this modern age, a child should die of starvation anywhere in this world.
Merely discussing concepts of peace and conflict transformation to a starving population is a touchy matter. However, it is also an opportune moment to talk about poverty, environmental stress and vulnerability of people, as everyone is now willing to listen. All the comforts that have been key impediments have just been disrupted by television images of malnourished children starving to death. Thanks to technology, after broadcasting inspiring moments about the Arabic uprising, the media has, in equal measure, gone full circle and is now reminding the world that there are others whose survival hangs by a thread.