Further violence has gripped the Kenyan/Ethiopian border region where more than 40 people were killed earlier in the week. Border clashes between Kenyan Turkana tribesmen and their cross-border Ethiopian Merille counterparts have left scores dead and now the number of people seeking refuge has increased dramatically. Most of those killed were Turkana. Some of their tribe had gone into the border region to trade with the Ethiopians, who now live on the Kenyan side of the border, but were ambushed on their return and apparently slaughtered in a shootout.
The border region east of Kenya’s Lake Turkana remains a hotbed of conflict, with thousands of foreign nationals resident inside Kenya’s borders, and large pockets of the native Turkana population now displaced.
The victims in the alleged recent spate of killings were people who were fleeing the area due to previous clashes, in which more than 40 people died.
At the same time, fresh information suggests five more people may have been killed by Merille bandits two days after 20 others were shot dead.
Turkana North district commissioner Jack Opuo could neither confirm nor deny the killings at Todonyang on the Kenya-Ethiopia border, saying security personnel had been dispatched to investigate the incident.
“Security personnel have been sent to verify the alleged killings,” said Mr Opuo on phone.
But residents fleeing the insecurity-hit area said among the dead were Mr Edapal Lokoyo, his two daughters, a Mr Nakonyi and another person.
“The victims were escaping from the trouble-hit area when they were shot dead,” said Ms Jacinta Ekai by telephone. She termed the killing an act of provocation.
The border conflict has remained in the headlines in Kenya for the last week, with the government dispatching troops and a ‘fact-finding mission’ to the region to establish what can be done. The border region has seen violence before, but with 35 Kenyan tribesmen dead, their bodies littered across the plains straddling the border, the government immediately sought a route to peace in the area.