NAIROBI, Kenya, May 6 – The Kenya Red Cross Society says 54 people have lost their lives in the spate of killings following clashes between communities at the volatile Turkana- East Pokot border.
The Society’s Secretary General Abbas Gullet says 350 families have also been displaced and are camping at Nabokut and Nasoret.
He says a rescue team has been dispatched to Loiyangalani where a patient needed urgent and specialised treatment.
“From what I know, our team was on the ground yesterday (Tuesday) in Nandome village, Nabokut and Nasoret where they confirmed that there were 54 people who have lost their lives from these two communities of Pokot and Turkana of which there were 45 male, five female and four children which is very sad in this remote terrain,” said Gullet.
He emphasised the need for dialogue among communities in Turkana to end the endless spate of cattle rustling which leads to loss of life.
“In the 21st Century, we can’t have Kenyans killing one another especially these pastoralist communities who come from a very marginalized environment. They can’t continue in this day and age to do cattle rustling and kill one another while showing little regard for lives. Between these four counties, Marsabit, Samburu Turkana and Baringo, over the last four days close to 75 Kenyans have died. Is it worth it and what for?”
The Pokot and Turkana have been involved in protracted conflict caused by cattle raids and disputes over pasture.
“These communities through their leadership should come together with common sense and start talking as opposed to cattle rustling,” Gullet stressed.
The killings occurred just a few weeks after the Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet issued an ultimatum to cattle rustlers in the Rift Valley to hand in their guns.
The insecurity has been facilitated by availability of small arms and light weapons in the rustling-prone region.
The increased use of weaponry has not only grown to become a major security problem for the pastoralists, but also a key threat to the very core of their livelihoods, which is anchored on ownership of large herds.
The killing of 26 security officers at Kapedo in October last year marked the height of insecurity in the region and worsened relations between the two communities.