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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 
Kenya beefs up security in oil fields amid protests

LODWAR (Xinhua) -- Kenyan authorities said Sunday security has been beefed up at oil fields in Turkana County, northwest region after protesting residents stormed the oil field and halt transportation of crude oil to Mombasa.

Turkan County Commissioner Seif Matata said tight security has been deployed at the Ngamia 8 oil site after protesters stormed and broke into the site which has storage tanks. 

“We have deployed a special security unit to man the oil fields and we are warning residents against interfering with the operation of Tullow Oil company,” Matata told Xinhua by phone.

The government administrator said a special security unit has been formed and deployed to guard the oil facilities.

Protestors stormed the site and blocked trucks ferrying crude oil to Mombasa until the government provide them security following attacks from armed bandits from neighboring community.

Kenyans had on June 4 welcomed the country’s start of oil exportation with cautious optimism with President Uhuru Kenyatta telling citizens not to allow the mineral to turn into a curse for the nation.

Kenyatta flagged off the transportation of 2,000 barrels of the first batch of crude oil from Ngamia 8 fields in Turkana for storage at the Kenya Petroleum Refinery in Mombasa.

Matata who confirmed the intrusion to the oil site said nothing was stolen. He assured residents that their demand is handled and will be solved amicably and urged the community to remain calm.

“The government has taken up all the concerns you have raised but there is no way we are going to allow such huge investment interrupted,” he warned when he addressed residents.

He said demands made by the community including employment will be addressed through negotiations with Tullow Oil, adding that residents would be given first priority. 

The official accused some top leaders in the county of fanning protests to blackmail the government.

“The government has have put in place adequate measures to tame cattle raids and the politicians should stop inciting residents to destabilize economic activities,” Matata said.  

The administrator said a special unit has also been formed to patrol the Lodwar-Kitale highway to make it secure to users.

“The government has deployed a unit to escort trucks and be warned that interfering with the transportation exercise will land you in trouble,” he said.

           

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