NAIROBI, August 19
Kenya has deployed 200 security officers to the volatile region of Turkana to guard the area against regular attacks by the Merille tribesmen from Ethiopia, who have killed dozens in recent incursions, Kenya’s Internal Security Minister George Saitoti said Friday.
Saitoti, who insisted recently that the Ethiopian government was not to blame for the regular attacks in Turkana by the Merille tribesmen against the local Turkana of Kenya, said the security forces have recently been deployed to the region to beef up security.
Speaking during a security briefing with top security officials in western Kenya, Saitoti said he recently led a high-level security delegation to Ethiopia to discuss the Kenya-Ethiopia border security.
Kenya and Ethiopia recently agreed on the restoration of the border markings to ensure the beacons marking the boundaries are clearly visible to avert constant security breaches on the territorial integrity of either state. The border beacons restoration has been under discussions by the directors of departments of survey on both sides.
The Turkana killings have been attributed to the inter-communal struggle for the scarce resources around Lake Turkana, especially fishing and grazing rights.
Kenyan officials ordered the resettlement of the Merille tribe residing inside the Kenyan territory in the aftermath of fierce attacks which killed 20 Turkana traders returning from the Ethiopian side of the border.
In the latest attacks which occurred in early August, eight Turkana women were killed by attackers from the Merile clan militia, forcing the Kenyan government to issue a protest note to Ethiopia.
A series of ministerial meetings have been held since May 2011 to try to resolve the communal stand-off in Turkana, especially in the volatile region of Todonyang, where most of the recent killings have taken place.
Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki initiated the talks with Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, during which an agreement was reached to restore the border markings and restore peace in the region. Saitoti, who is also Kenya’s acting foreign minister, said there was no need for a security alarm in Turkana following the deployment of the Kenyan security forces.