NAIROBI, Kenya Aug 5 – Twenty people were killed and three others seriously wounded by Ethiopia’s Merille tribesmen who raided manyattas and fled with more than 200 heads of cattle in Turkana on Friday, the latest in a string of attacks in the volatile region.
Reports from the region indicated that three other residents were nursing serious gunshot wounds sustained in the attack that occurred at Todonyang’ near the border with Ethiopia.
“This area has become too insecure! People are being killed every other time. Now we have 20 people who have been killed today by the Merile people near the border,” a provincial administrator in the region said.
“We cannot tell the casualties on the other side but we suspect there are certainly people dead or injured,” she added, but could not give further details citing poor communication network with the affected area.
Rift Valley Provincial Police Chief Francis Munyambu was not accessible to comment about the tragedy as his mobile phone went unanswered.
A police officer in the region said eight women were among those killed.
Friday’s attack is the latest in a spate launched by Merille tribesmen this year who often raid villages to steal cattle.
Last week, some other people, including a policeman were shot dead when security forces clashed with cattle rustlers at a remote village in Lokorio within Turkana district.
Another police officer was reported to have sustained serious gunshot wounds and was admitted to hospital during the attack.
Communities living on the Kenyan side and those on the Ethiopian border side are pastoralists and are often armed to protect their animals.
Merille tribesmen often clash with Turkanas whenever they cross over the border to steal animals.
Last month, the Kenyan government announced it was establishing a water sharing framework with Ethiopia to bring to an end the animosity between communities living on both sides of the border.
Internal Security Minister Professor George Saitoti who led a high-powered delegation to Addis Ababa in June said the two countries had formed a technical committee to study the viability of the project which will commence soon.
“Let me emphasise that Kenya identifies the issue of trans-boundary resources including the Lake Turkana and River Omo, and River Daua Basins, which are critical in the light of the fragile ecological zone shared by the two countries,” the Minister who is also acting in the Foreign Ministry portfolio said.
In the recent weeks, Merille tribesmen have launched attacks on the Kenyan side, killing at least 40 Turkana people over what authorities have linked to the scramble for natural resources along Lake Turkana.