KAMPALA, Uganda, May 12 – President Mwai Kibaki on Thursday held crisis talks with Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi over the recent attacks in Turkana.
At the meeting held in Kampala, Uganda, the leaders agreed that a joint ministerial group of the two countries should meet and urgently resolve border issues that have emerged after the conflict pitting the Turkana and Merille peoples.
"They underscored the importance of harmonious co-existence among communities living along common borders," a statement from the Presidential Press Service said.
The leaders also directed that the joint ministerial meeting should seek ways of restoring any beacons that may have been destroyed along the Kenya-Ethiopia border.
Militia from Ethiopia\’s Merille tribe last week attacked and killed 38 people in Turkana.
Rift Valley Provincial Commissioner Osman Warfa said trouble started when four Merille tribesmen ambushed a group of fishermen near Lake Turkana and killed their leader.
"In the commotion that ensued, unknown Turkana persons in quick retaliation shot the four Merille militiamen dead," he said.
As a result, some members of the Dasenach Merille community escaped from Turkana village and ran towards the Ethiopian direction for their safety.
"On their way to Ethiopia, it is alleged that they met a group of Dasenach Merille who were escorting a group of Turkana community members who had gone to Siees village to purchase food. Word reached them that their colleagues had been killed by Turkanas at the Todonyang Mission compound; that is when they turned against the Turkanas they were escorting and killed nine men, 10 women bringing the total number of Turkanas killed to 20," the Assistant Minister said.
Both of the two communities from the two countries are semi nomadic who are known to co-exist but they often clash and resort to gun fights to settle their differences.
Kenya has formally written a protest letter to Ethiopia over the attacks and reports of tampering with border beacons along the common border.
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