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.
One of Kenya's leading dailies, the Daily Nation, today reported that one Turkana person was killed by Nyang'atom raiders on Sunday, 7 August 2011 in Kibish area near Todonyang' where 13 others had been killed by Merille warriors just two days before. Another top Kenyan media house, KTN, uploaded on their YouTube Channel on the same issue: Here is the video from KTN
The Daily Nation says:
Another Kenyan has been killed and animals stolen by bandits suspected to be from Ethiopia, two days after the militia executed 13 other Kenyans.
The herdsman was shot dead when suspected Nyang’atom raiders attacked a village at Kibish on the Kenya-Ethiopia border, neighbouring Todonyang’ where 13 members of the Turkana community were killed last week by Merille bandits from Ethiopia while on a fishing expedition on the shores of Lake Turkana.
According to villagers interviewed the raiders also made away with over 300 cattle during the Saturday attack.
Senior security personnel led by Administration Police commandant Kinuthia Mbugua and Rift Valley Police boss Francis Munyambu on Sunday toured Todonyang and Kibish for the second consecutive day following the two attacks.
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.
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.