Kenya: Fishermen abducted by Ethiopian militia

The most recent conflict incident between the Turkana and the Dassenetch of Kenya in Ileret was on 30th July, 2013 when the Dassenetch identified one of his stolen nets in the Turkana boat. A heated quarrel ensued leading to the capture of the Turkana before the intervention was done by the Ileret security personnel and the people from Turkana.

However, this as a grudge seemed to have annoyed the Ethiopia side where on 1st August 2013 they decided to attack the Turkana boats that had gone to fish in their normal fishing areas near Todonyang. The Ethiopian attackers were using engine boats where after a chase and shootings from both side surrounded one boat of four people. They killed all the four and took away the boat, one gun which was in the boat and 27 nets. The attackers are believed to be the Ethiopia militia or security personnel who have already encroached inside Kenya doing fishing in the Kenyan soil and providing security to their people.

The Ethiopian people have aggressively encroached the Lake side of Kenya without considering the demarcated and define border as they follow the Lake as it recedes following the current climate change. The Ethiopian government doesn’t bother about the frequent crimes or conflict their people are doing inside Kenya.

When the Kenya team went to Ethiopia to lodge complains about the incident in the Lake where fishermen were attacked and killed, they were hostile though they accepted the incident happened but in Ethiopia not inside Kenya and this leaves many questions unanswered since the entire Lake Turkana is in Kenya. In the talk between Kenyan and Ethiopians the Ethiopia side accepted to return the gun, the boat and the nets . The period of three days agreed as the deadline for the return, but so far no communication has been made.

The Turkana people believe that the current conflict between them and the Dassanetch is about land since the Dassenetch are keeping on encroaching and at the same time conducting attacks to chase, displace and scare people away. The border is clear but they don’t bother instead they migrate well armed inside another territory without permission and when asked why they are doing so they point their guns.

In fact the government of Ethiopia knows very well what his people are doing but don’t bother. At present the Dassenetch livestock are grazing inside Kenya side of the border around Todonyang without permission or any agreement they have taken advantage of the displaced people of Todonyang who are now taking refuge in Lowarengak. The Dassanetch feel their land is too small to accommodate them unlike the Turkana who have a big land to occupy. They could even want the old demarcated border to be pushed inside the same area with the Nyangatom, who claim the Kibish area to be theirs and want the Turkana to move back.

The issue of land is becoming contentious between the Turkana and the neighbouring communities from Ethiopia, but the two governments seem to be unaware, assuming the incessant conflicts are the normal cultural behavior.

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Date: 09/08/2013




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