BY LUCAS NG’ASIKE
Kenyan and Ethiopian authorities have vowed to unite warring communities and foster peace along their common borders.
The two governments have reached a consensus on security issues along its boundaries to ensure Turkana and Merille communities live peacefully.
A high powered Kenyan delegation led by Turkana North DC Albert Mwilitsa met Ethiopian Government officials in Omorate, South Omo, and agreed to restore peace in the region.
Mwilitsa said the two governments have set up a joint security organ that would spearhead peace to end recurrence of clashes between the communities.
The DC said Kenya has deployed marine police to the volatile Todonyang area to patrol Lake Turkana.
He added that the Ethiopian Government has also deployed its security personnel on their borders to maintain peace and order.
“We want to make sure the warring communities co-exist peacefully. Our mandate as governments is to assure residents of both sides live harmoniously by providing security,” Mwilitsa said.
The administrator told the meeting in Omorate that only the Kenya Marine Police will patrol the Lake along the border. He warned that Kenyan security agencies will deal with militia threats that have destabilised peace in the Lake Turkana region.
The DC said the Government will set up immigration offices in Todonyang to open up the region for trade, peace, security and free citizenship movements.
The meeting also agreed to the establishment of joint pastoralist school along the border where Turkana and Merille children will learn.
“We know that illiteracy has contributed so much to conflicts in the area. We want to establish a common academic institution for our children if we want to achieve peace in the region,” said Mwiltisa.
The DC also protested to Ethiopian authorities over the killing of Kenyan fishermen by the Merille militia.
The administrator revealed that for the last two months, eight people among them three security officers have been killed by Ethiopian militia on the shores of Lake Turkana.
The DC urged the Ethiopian authorities to restrain its people from crossing into Kenya to attack civilians and security officers.
He said the two governments will sensitise the communities on shared grazing rights to avoid further conflicts over pasture and water resources along the border.
The administrator said a common market would also be established along the border to promote barter trade.
Ethiopian South Omo Chief Administrator Maloka Detachew who led the Ethiopian delegation said the two countries have agreed on a joint border demarcation programme from September to clearly determine the boundaries of each country.
The move, Maloka added, would reduce further conflicts among communities in the region.