-- Inter-tribal skirmishes that flared
up recently along the border separating northern Kenyan counties
of Turkana and West Pokot have threatened transportation of
crude oil and other economic activities in the volatile region.
Dozens of people have lost their lives as a result of skirmishes
linked to cattle rustling and fight over pasture and water
points among the nomadic communities.
Three people died and scores were injured last Saturday at
the volatile West Pokot-Turkana border.
Abbas Gullet, secretary general of Kenya Red Cross, said the
attacks paralyzed transport between Lodwar and Kitale towns.
Retaliatory attacks have continued along the border,
disrupting economic activities like irrigation along Lake
Oil transportation from exploration fields in Ngamia 1 in
Lokichar area to the refinery in the port city of Mombasa was
disrupted for one week due to worsening security.
"We have suspended transportation of oil for a while due to
insecurity. Bandits attack on the highway is a threat to our
operation in Lokichar," said an official from British oil
Mathew Kutto, police commander in West Pokot County, told
Xinhua that tension remained high at the volatile Turkana-West
Pokot border but the government had deployed police officers to
"It is true tension is high along the border of the two
warring communities but... we have deployed security officers to
protect civilians, especially motorists along the highway,"
There is heavy presence of armed bandits along the
Lodwar-Kitale highway, a key transport corridor in northwestern
Education officials said several schools along the border
separating the two counties have been forced to close due to
"Schools along the border are not safe and most of them have
been forced to close for the safety of students and teachers,"
said an education official who requested anonymity.
"Learning will resume when there is calm and teaching
fraternity is assured of security."
Turkana and West Pokot nomadic communities’ leaders have been
accused of fuelling the conflict at the border and lobby groups
are calling for their arrest and prosecution.
So far, families in Lorogon, Turkwel, Takaywo, Kainuk,
Loyapata and Kapur areas have fled their homes for fear of
Locals said the violence was provoked by last week’s incident
where police officers from Turkana County allegedly opened fire
on a convoy of leaders heading to Takaywo village for a peace
Kutto said police officers involved in the shooting have been
arrested and put under investigation.
Peace monitors at the volatile border said that more than
five people have been killed and hundreds of livestock lost
since the beginning of the year.
Residents lamented that the renewed fighting will sabotage
economic growth in the region.
"We are not attending our farms now.
"We fear being killed by the bandits and we regret that what
has been achieved in the past years when there was peace will be
drained to waste," said Grace Ekiru, a vegetable farmer.
Motorists plying the Lodwar-Kitale highway are protected by
police escort, but traders complain of dwindling business due to
"Transporting goods from Kitale has been frustrated by
highway banditry and the problem has hindered business," said
Peter Maina, a grocery shop owner in Lodwar town.