7 March 2012

Kenya: 200 Reservists to Man Country-Ethiopia Border

The government will deploy an additional 200 police reservists along the Kenya-Ethiopia border to maintain security. The reservists have been recruited and will undergo training from next week before being deployed at Todonyang and Kibish where militiamen from Ethiopia have been attacking the Turkana community. Turkana North DC Albert Mwilitsa said tension is high along the border following the killing of a police reservist by militia.

He said efforts to reconcile the neighbouring communities have not succeeded because of freqeunt raids by the Merrile militia group from Ethiopia. "We have an elaborate plan to improve security along the border so that communities in the two countries can co-exist peacefully," Mwilitsa said.

A similar insecurity problem has also been reported in the Elemi Triangle which is being claimed by both Ethiopia and Southern Sudan. The Kenya government says the area is within its territory. Militiamen and herdsmen raided part of the Elemi Triangle and other areas along the border and have occupied part of the Kenyan territory.

An international boundaries review team is visiting the Kenya-Ethiopia border in Todonyang, Turkana North District, to help resolve the dispute over the boundary between the two countries. The visit follows a complaint by Kenya after beacons demarcating the border with Ethiopia were uprooted early last year.

The team is also expected to visit the Elemi Triangle, also being disputed between the two countries. President Kibaki and Ethiopia's Prme Minister Meles Zenawi met last year in Uganda and agreed to have the border dispute resolved amicably. The review team is expected to hand over its report to an inter-ministerial team formed by the two countries. In may last year, it was discovered that some of the beacons demarcating the border between Kenya and Ethiopia near Todonyang had been uprooted. The Merile militia group from Ethiopia had raided the area and killed more than 20 Kenyans.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga visited the area after the attack and said the border areas would be surveyed and the beacons restored. "We have to know where the border is located so that we can secure our territory properly and this is a matter we are dealing with seriously," said the PM. The Merile and Turkana communities have also been clashing over pasture and resources at Lake Turkana, which lies on the border between the two countries. The issue is also being discussed at diplomatic level. Mwilitsa said they are dealing with the insecurity and border disputes through dialogue between government officials and elders from both sides.

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