Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Kenya protests against Ethiopian incursion - Xinhua | English.news.cn

English.news.cn   2012-05-10 18:41:22             

LODWAR, Kenya, May 10 (Xinhua) -- Kenya has protested over incursions and senseless ritual killing by Ethiopian militia and the disruption of fishing activities along the shores of the Lake Turkana.
Officials said on Thursday that heavily armed troops have been moved to the Todonyang area of Turkana in Kenya's Rift Valley, where three police officers were killed and five others wounded by Merrile bandits from Ethiopia.
Turkana North District Commissioner Albert Mwilitsa said the government has launched official protest against invasions by the Ethiopians. The officials confirmed that tension is high along the Kenya-Ethiopia border after Merrile herders attempted to invade grazing fields inside Kenya.
"The border is tense and we have moved a big number of security personnel troops to beef up security after Ethiopians tried to cross to the country," Mwilitsa said. Security units have been established at various entry points along the common boundary.
"We have a full-pledged police station, General Service Unit and rapid deployment unit from the administration police to deal with the Ethiopian militia," the administrator said.
Up to 50 people including security officers have been killed by the Ethiopian militia since May last year.This has forced hundreds of Turkana families to move away from the rich fishing grounds along the shores for their safety to Lwarengak, 14 km away for safety, according to Kenyan officials.
Fishing is the only source of income for the Turkanas. The pastoralist community depends on fishing to supplement food handouts from the government and donors.
Despite heavy presence of Kenyan officers, families are fleeing the area as heavily Ethiopian militia take control of the volatile border.
Mwilitsa said Kenya has made demands to the Ethiopian administration in a bid to restore peace at the border.
Among the demands is the withdrawal and disarmament of the nearly 500 Merrile militia at Natapal, an Ethiopian security post at the border.
The militia is accused of staging attacks on the Kenyan side to force officer and Turkana villagers to move away from the fertile fishing areas.
Mwilitsa said he had delivered a Kenyan protest letter. "We are demanding that the Ethiopian authority to step in security measures and stop their people from invading our territory. I have talked and delivered our demands to the chief administrative officer of southern Omo zone and we expect their regional president Shiferaw to act," the official told Xinhua by telephone.
Mwilitsa said the government also wants the Ethiopian side to establish a legitimate security camp at Natapal.
"We want a legal security camp at the border to help control and restrain Ethiopian civilians from entering Kenya and also bring down the incursions," the official said.
Kenya and Ethiopia last week agreed to jointly demarcate a new international boundary separating disputes over beacons and infiltration of criminals and communal border conflicts.
President Mwai Kibaki and Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi have agreed on the demarcation to end the protracted confusion on the boundary.
"Following a directive by the two Heads of State that a joint boundary committee be established to inspect boundary and replace pillars, it is paramount that we move forward as per the principals' directives," Acting Internal Security Permanent Secretary Mutea Iringo told the security delegation from Kenya and Ethiopia in Kenya's port city Mombasa.
The official announced that Kenya has established an army base along the Kenya-Ethiopia border in Todonyang in Turkana County to curb rebel militia attacks and asked Ethiopia to establish the same on its side of the border to allow the security personnel to tighten surveillance and address security issues as they arise on the ground.

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