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Kibaki, Zenawi in fresh talks over border clash

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, May 25 – President Mwai Kibaki met with Ethiopia\’s Prime Minister Meles Zenawi for the second time in two weeks on Tuesday, to discuss the deadly clashes in Turkana that left at least 42 people dead on May 3.

The meeting which  was a follow-up to talks the two leaders held in Kampala, Uganda on May 12, also set out the agenda that will be discussed at a Joint Ministerial meeting between representatives of the two countries.

This includes the issue of beacons along the common border and the sustainable use of shared resources like the Lake Turkana.

On May 3 at least 42 people were killed in heavy fighting between members of Kenya\’s Turkana community and an Ethiopian tribal militia along Kenya-Ethiopia border.

Bandits armed with AK 47 assault rifles and machine guns ambushed a group of Kenyans who had crossed into Ethiopia to buy food.

Those killed included 37 Turkana villagers, according to Rift Valley Provincial Commissioner Osman Warfa.

Local residents have accused the Government of failing to set up a permanent security base at Todonyang exposing them to attacks.

Residents claim most bloody conflicts are as a result of the desire by the Merille militia wanting to take control of Lake Turkana, which is affluent in fish.

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Recently, Prime Minister Raila Odinga and five Cabinet ministers were barred from accessing a Kenyan village that is inhabited by Ethiopian tribesmen for fear of being attacked.

The PM\’s mission in the vast Turkana County was to evaluate the security situation after the raid by Merille warriors, but security officers advised them against venturing into the Emorupus village.

President Kibaki and the Ethiopian leader also discussed regional issues including peace and security in the Sudan and Somalia. They called for patience and tolerance in Sudan that has entered a critical stage in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that set out the roadmap for stability in the country.

During the discussions, President Kibaki and the Ethiopian Premier also expressed the need for fast-tracking infrastructural projects connecting the two countries.

President Kibaki also briefed the Premier on progress Kenya is making on the Isiolo-Moyale Road whose construction to bitumen standards is currently underway. The road will connect the two countries at the Moyale border post.

Accompanying the President on his visit are acting Foreign Affairs Minister Prof George Saitoti, Trade Minister Chirau Ali Mwakwere, legislators George Nyamweya and Eric Omondi Anyanga.

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