Oct 09, 2020(Nyamilepedia) — Armed men suspected to be from Toposa ethnic community in South Sudan have invaded Kenya’s Turkana villages.
According to eyewitnesses, the attackers were wearing bullet belts while carrying rifles and ammunition in metallic containers.
This has caused tension along the border between Kenya and South Sudan over fears of an impending conflict for water and pasture.
The resident of Lokiriwak village fears that those men could be targeting to attack and steal their livestocks.
“We always witness cross border livestock theft by people who target pastoralists that have embraced peace. I have never seen such a strategy where Toposa pastoralists cross over to our territory with sophisticated weapons and displace us by force,” said Mr Ekalale, a resident in the area.
Turkana West MP Daniel Epuyo claimed that there were more than 200 men and they did not enter the country legally, adding that the group is acting like terrorists.
“For such an organised group to cross into the country with sophisticated weapons is like Kenya is under attack and their strategy is no different from that of a terrorist group.” He said.
The Turkana residents appealed to the Kenyan government to evict the invaders over fears of hunger and starvation as they will be pushed to grounds that have no pasture and with limited water for their livestock.
“They only want to displace our people so that they can occupy the pasture rich ranges and water sources,” Mr Jalinga said.
“What we want is for the State to evict the militia from our territory as this will have a negative impact on development activities along the border.” He added.
Mr Jalinga added that they are ready for peace talks with their neighbours to share pasture and water but the invaders should not cross over while armed.
He further said that the tension is also affecting construction of road from Nadapal to Nakodo.
Peace campaigners including Lokichoggio Peace Organisation and Lotus Kenya Action for Development organisation have appealed to the pastoralists to respect existing peace agreements.
Turkana County Commissioner Muthama Wambua said he is aware of the invasion adding that the matter is being discussed in Nairobi to inform action to be taken.
Cross border disputes between Turkana of Kenya, Toposa of South Sudan and the Karamojong of Uganda have been witnessed here in the past; however, initiatives to bring peace have prevailed and the conflicts have reduced.
South Sudan’s authorities were not available to respond to this report at the writing of this writing.