Tension as 11 killed on Kenya-Ethiopia border in water row


Tension is high in northern Kenya after the killing of 11 people following a dispute over a watering point.

Two people were also wounded and another four are reported missing after insurgents from Ethiopia allegedly hoodwinked residents of Ulan village, North Horr Constituency in Marsabit County, into attending a peace meeting over a disputed pool of water only to open fire on them.

Speaking to the Nation, Maikona Location Senior Chief Bonaya Racha said that the attack came a few days after the residents of Ulan, about 3 kilometres from Forole village and a neighbouring Ethiopian village, were embroiled in a row over a livestock watering point at the border.

“As we speak now we are living in terrible fear since 11 people from this area were brutally murdered today (Monday) by an Ethiopian militia group,” said Mr Bonaya.

‘Peace meeting’

The chief, who has expressed fear over his own security, said that the assault took place at around 11am (0800hrs) Monday when a section of Ulan elders and young men were invited to a make-believe peace meeting which turned into the worst tragedy to be witnessed in the area.

Mr Racha said that tensions ensued immediately after the end of short rains in area when herders from both sides began scrambling for the ownership of a water pool on the Kenyan side.

He said that both sides called for an amicable resolution to the dispute and on Monday, the Ethiopians invited their Kenyan colleagues for a meeting.

The administrator said that meeting that never was only turned into a nightmare for the Kenyan emissaries as they were rounded up and 11 of them gunned down as another two were seriously wounded.

Four other subsequently went missing following the assault prompting the villagers to launch a search team.

The chief is now blaming the attack on the security apparatus as he alleged that he had reported to the police three months ago about the tension only to be victimized.

He said he is now vulnerable after his gun was seized.

Police patrol

He also wondered why the police vehicle that was in the area and which could have helped in the rescue mission was taken to Marsabit town, about 250 kilometres away, making it possible for the attackers to escape effortlessly.

The chief added that plans for the attack begun immediately after the mass disarmament of the National Police Reservists in the county by the government in March 2019.

He said the guns should not have been taken away from the reservists considering the vulnerability at the border points yet the government was aware that the Ethiopians had not been disarmed.

The administrator is now calling on Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i to help resolve the insecurity problem.

He also appealed to Dr Matiang’i to open an inquest to establish whether the attack was planned by some politicians from the county.

East Africa


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