Members of the Toposa tribe. File photo

South Sudan, Kenya border clashes fuel wider tension

By Kidega Livingstone

A decade old border conflict over the border lines between Toposa community of Kapoeta East County in Eastern Equatoria State in South Sudan and Turkana of Kenya is sparking fear following recent clashes between the two parties.

Previously, the two communities have been involved in a protracted conflict caused by cattle raiding and border dispute.

On Monday morning, fighting erupted again among the aforesaid groups at the side of Kenya after Toposa opened their kraal over.

According to the eyewitnesses, the two sides met when the Turkana were also encroaching towards South Sudan border and started fighting straightaway.

Abdalla Lokeno, Commissioner of Kapoeta East County said the clashes have now ceased though a number of the people have lost from both sides.

‘’There is problem between the two communities because Turkana came and entered into Toposa side claiming that the area belongs to Kenya territory so that’s how they started fighting near mountain Mogila,’’ he narrated.

The local official said the issue requires both governments’ intervention as he appealed to the two communities to come up with non-violence approaches to end the conflict.

Cypriano Lobui Lomong, the Payam Administrator for Nadapal confirmed the Monday’s incident, adding that some people are still missing following the incident.

In 2009, Kenya government raised security concerns along the border between the then Sudan now South Sudan along Nadapal-Lokichoggio road, citing grazing areas difficulties at Mogilia and Losolia hills.

This later culminated to a joint Ministerial Meeting on the management of the common border between the Government of Kenya and the Government of Southern Sudan held on August 13, 2009 in Nairobi, Kenya.

The meeting was attended by a delegation from Southern Sudan consisting of 8 government officials while the Kenyan delegation comprised of 18 senior government officials.

However, Taposa Youth petitioned President Salva Kiir to bring his attention what they described as “encroachment, annexation and occupation of Kapoeta territory” particularly the former Kapoeta East County now called Losolia and Kauto by the government of Kenya this week.

The youth in their Petition Letter seen by Juba Echo on Wednesday, said “For the matter to be addressed, they have recommended that the temporary border post at Nadapal established by Kenya Authorty in 2009  be reverted back to Lokichoggio within the shortest time on the basis that Kenya has violated the resolutions number two of August 2009 meeting”

‘’If Kenya persists with encroachment into South Sudan, Kenya should be referred by South Sudan to the United Nation Security Council and the International Court of Justice in the Hague for such aggression which is a threat to regional security’’ the Statement partly reads.

It also recommended a need for South Sudan People’s Defense Forces to be deployed in Key bases near Lokichoggio, Loole, Namerikinyang; Newsite and Nadapal respectively.

 They also said that the construction of the road funded by the World Bank in Kenya should end at Lokichoggio but not at Nakodo as being advocated by Kenya.

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