Ministry sets up new border offices
Posted Thursday, June 28 2012 at 20:48
- The immigration offices are meant to facilitate smooth and legal movement of people and goods to promote cross-border trade.
The Immigration ministry has set up additional offices on Kenya’s borders with Ethiopia and South Sudan to improve trade with the two countries.
Two offices have been established at Kibish and Todonyang in Turkana North District on the border with Ethiopia while another is at Nadapal on the border with South Sudan.
“The immigration offices are meant to facilitate smooth and legal movement of people and goods to promote cross-border trade,” said Albert Mwilitsa, the Turkana North District commissioner.
Surveyors and provincial administrators from the three countries are remarking the disputed border points.
“Survey is to begin soon to erect beacons on accurate border areas to help resolve protracted conflict among pastoralists from the three countries over grazing field,” said Mr Mwilitsa.
Among the areas to be surveyed are Elemi Triangle and the boundary along Lake Turkana.
Hundreds of Nyangatom herdsmen from South Sudan and Ethiopia have invaded Soya area in Elemi in search of water and grazing land, triggering fresh armed conflicts with their Turkana counterparts.
Mr Mwilitsa, however, said joint security operations have been launched to contain uncoordinated movement of animals from Ethiopia to Kenya and vice versa that has been blamed for the cause of conflict that has claimed many lives and led to loss of property.
Ethiopian has set up four camps along Kibish and Todonyang’ border point to contain cattle raids and boost security in the area, he said.
“Additional security has been posted along the border points while Kibish has been elevated to full-fledged police station to protect lives and property of the local residents,” explained Mr Mwilitsa.
However population pressure, change of land use from grazing fields to agricultural production and cultural rites have been named as some of the emerging factors fuelling armed conflict among pastoralists from Ethiopia and Kenya.
The transformation of several hectares of grazing fields into crop production is driving members of Merilee and Nyong’atom pastoralists from Ethiopia to invade parts of Turkana North District in search of pasture and water, triggering fresh armed conflicts with their Turkana counterparts.
“Tension has continued to grip the Kenya-Ethiopia border as hundreds of pastoralists from South Omo zone raid Kenyan soil after most of the grazing fields were turned into crop production,” said Mr Mwilitsa.
According to the New York-based Human Rights Watch group, about 100,000 hectares of land in Lower Omo Valley have been earmarked for commercial farming of sugarcane and cotton.