South Sudanese Herders

Tension in Turkana as Heavily Armed South Sudanese Men Invade Villages

There is tension in Turkana after a group of heavily armed South Sudanese men crossed the border into villages deep in the Kenyan territory.

Residents of Kapadie are now worried that the presence of the armed men might ignite an all-out conflict over water and pasture.

According to a report by the Nation, the men carrying guns and bullets in metallic containers are believed to be from the Toposa ethnic group in Southern Sudan.

Tension in Turkana
They are believed to be from the Toposa ethnic group in Southern Sudan. Image/Nation Media Group

The reports further indicate that they are currently holed in in grazing fields found within the Mogilla Ranges.

The aggressiveness of the men has caused tension at the border over fears of an impending conflict for water and pasture with fears that they are also targeting to attack them and steal their livestock.

Led by Joseph Jalinga, they are now appealing to their leaders to move with speed and drive the foreigners to avert possible clashes.

The invasion comes at a time many Turkana villages are staring at prolonged periods of drought.

Drought has led to limited water for their livestock

The residents are now facing hunger and starvation even as they claim that the Toposa men are driving them into areas with limited water and pasture for their animals.

Tension in Turkana
Residents fear that they are targeting to attack them and steal their livestock. Nation Media Group

“They only want to displaced our people so that they remain can occupy the pasture rich ranges and water sources,” Mr Jalinga who spoke to the Nation said.

While crying for the state to provide them with security, he added: “What we want is for the State to evict the militia from our territory as this will have a negative impact on development activities along the border.”

Many of the residents are pastoralists and now claim that the Toposa herders have gone more than 50 kilometres deeper into the Kenyan territory where the only available water for their animals is the Kapatie water pan.

Another resident, Mr Ekalale had this to say: “We always witness cross border livestock theft by people who target pastoralists that have embraced peace. I have never seen such a strategy where Toposa pastoralists cross over to our territory with sophisticated weapons and displace us by force,”

Member of Parliament for Turkana West Daniel Epuyo said that intelligence reports indicate that the men are numbering close to 200 and armed to the teeth.

He even went further to likening them to a terrorist outfit.

Tension in Turkana
Turkana West Mp has likened them to a terrorist outfit. Image/Nation Media Group

“For such an organised group to cross into the country with sophisticated weapons is like Kenya is under attack and their strategy is no different from that of a terrorist group.” The Mp Turkana West Mp told the Nation.

Peace talks

The herders’ invasion has also affected government efforts to develop the area’s infrastructure such as hospitals and schools, and the Mp is calling for Southern Sudanese leaders to have a sit down for peace negotiations.

“We are ready for peace talks with our neighbours so that we share pasture and water but they should do so without crossing over while armed. The tension is also affecting construction of the road from Nadapal to Nakodo,” Mr Jalinga said.

Shedding more light on the matter, Turkana County Commissioner Muthama Wambua told the daily that he is aware of the situation, and added that the ministry of internal security officials are looking onto the matter.

“The matter is being handled by senior security officers in Nairobi. I will give more details after the meeting,” Mr Wambua said.


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