5 May 2011

Kenya: Five Feared Dead in New Turkana Fighting

Nairobi — Five more people have been killed by suspected Merrile bandits from Ethiopia, two days after the militia executed 20 other Kenyans.

The five, who included an elderly man and his two daughters were shot dead as they fled Lopur location, neighbouring Todonyang where 20 members of the Turkana community were killed on Tuesday.

Consequently, a contingent of security personnel has been deployed to the Todonyang region on the Kenya-Ethiopia border to contain raising tension following the killing of the Kenyans.

Turkana North District Commissioner Jack Opuo could neither confirm nor deny the killings saying security personnel have been dispatched to investigate the incident.

"Security personnel have been send to verify the alleged killings," said Mr Opuo on phone.

But according to residents fleeing the insecurity-hit area, those shot dead by the Merrile attackers included Edapal Lokoyo and his two daughters, a Mr Nakonyi and a neighbour.

"The victims were escaping from the trouble hit area when they were shot dead," said Jacinta Ekai on the phone who termed the killing as an act of provocation.

Mr Opuo said a security meeting between administrators from the two countries will be held Saturday to quell mounting tension following the killings.

The attack occurred after four Merille fishermen were killed on the shore of Lake Turkana on Monday .

More than 50 Turkana families have been evacuated from the Kenya-Ethiopia border following the killing of 24 people in the renewed attacks over food and land.

Also withdrawn from the conflict hit Todonyang area are over 20 Merrile families who are part of the 3,000 people who have invaded the Kenyan Land.

Interviewed residents have called on the government to beef up area and resolve the cattle rustling and banditry menace along the Kenyan/Ethiopia border.

Ekwam Ikaru, said he lost fishing gear and household items following the attack that has caused economic sufferings to the locals.

"It is high time the government guarantees security to its people and property by acting tough against such external aggression," said Ikaru Akoru one of the villagers on phone.

Mr Opuo said commercial fishing activity had resumed in Lake Turkana after a protracted rivalry between members of the Turkana community and Merille from Ethiopia was resolved.

"It is unfortunate that the attack occurred even after a committee comprising of elders from the two communities was formed to help end cattle rustling and banditry activities along the common borders of the two countries," said Mr Opuo.

Most commercial fishmongers had moved out of Lake Turkana following recurrent attacks by raiders from the two communities.

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