Following the death of more than 60 people in just two months (equivalent to 1 death per day), the Kenyan government is awakening to the horror that resource use conflict is in northern Turkana, especially in the Omo River's Delta at Lake Turkana. As the lake shrinks further into Kenya, the delta is now almost entirely inside Kenyan territory. The Merille of Ethiopia have shared the delta with their Turkana counterparts from the other side of the border. Now that the delta is in Kenya, they have followed it into this territory. The result is escalation of attacks between the different communities depending on the lower Omo river and the Delta for their livelihood.
As the boundary committee goes to put beacons on the border, we only hope that they will do this right, they will involve the community in the demarcation process and communities will respect the borders. But, still, we don't think this will end the fighting... The question of resource use rights and responsibilities must be answered. And clearly, it would be catastrophic if the Gibe III Dam is completed and becomes operational.
The Daily Nation reports:
Kenyan team in Ethiopia for border talks
Kenyan surveyors are in Ethiopia to resolve a border dispute between the two countries. Survey director Ephantus Murage is holding talks with his Ethiopian counterpart in Addis Ababa on how to resolve the boundary row at Lake Turkana delta. “We expect the demarcation to begin before the end of this month,” said Rift Valley provincial commissioner Osman Warfa.
He said beacons would be erected in the lake to resolve the dispute once and for all. The PC was with a team of surveyors and security officials to Lokitaung’, Turkana County, last month in readiness for the demarcation. “This will be done jointly with surveyors from the two countries,” said Mr Warfa.
Protracted rivalry between Turkanas and Merriles from Ethiopia has interrupted commercial fishing in Lake Turkana. Fishmongers have moved out of Lake Turkana following attacks by raiders from the two communities. “A clear border and beefing up of security will boost business in the two countries,” said Mr Ewoi Akuam, a local fishmonger.
The two countries’ administrators and security officials are working out the methodology of stemming hostilities between the Turkana and Ethiopia’s Merrile and Nyangatom communities. “The talks are aimed at resolving cross border conflict between the three communities,” said Mr Warfa.
Additional police officers are in Todonyang following renewed conflicts between the Turkana and the Ethiopian communities. More than 60 people have been killed in the last two months in attacks pitting Kenyan and Ethiopian fishermen and pastoralists.