Words from Kenya

A brief roundup of the news stories from Northern Kenya over the holiday period.

Turkana North District

It seems that leaders in Northern Kenya have been busy making friends with each other over the festive period; we can only hope that these warm fuzzy feelings of ‘good will to all’ will continue well into the new year.

The governors of Isiolo, Wajir, Mandera and Garrisa have signed an agreement to collectively address common challenges and aspirations of their residents according to the Star http://www.the-star.co.ke/news/article-148521/northern-kenya-counties-solve-issues-together.

The Star also reports that MPs, Senators and communities in West Pokot, Turkana, Samburu and Baringo have now agreed to foster peace and end hostilities that have led to the death many people in the region this year. They are planning another peace caravan. http://allafrica.com/stories/201312311027.html

On a more practical note the Star reports on the Sh10 billion Turkwel sugar project to be undertaken by the Kerio Valley Development Authority (funded by the government of India). This will see projects implemented in West Pokot, Turkana, Baringo, Samburu, Elgeyo Marakwet and parts of Trans Nzoia. http://www.the-star.co.ke/news/article-148917/kvda-plans-projects-seven-countries

Turkana and West Pokot governors are also part of a group of six north rift governors who are planning to form an economic block to help jointly exploit resources and investment opportunities in their counties. http://www.the-star.co.ke/news/article-149292/six-north-rift-governors-okay-joint-economic-bloc

Turkana

Citizen reports that more than 2000 families in Lokamarinyang village have been left homeless after their homes were destroyed by fire. http://www.citizennews.co.ke/news/2012/local/item/16004-fire-destroys-over-2000-homes

The Standard reports that some Turkana leaders have requested increased security along the border with South Sudan as they fear that the renewed fighting there will spill into Turkana http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/?articleID=2000100854&story_title=leaders-call-for-tight-security-along-kenya-s-sudan-border

There was an attempted livestock raid at Atakiyo village on the Kenya-South Sudan border on 29th December. The attack was believed to be by Toposa from South Sudan. Two of the raiders were shot dead and no livestock was taken. http://mobile.nation.co.ke/counties/Toposa-raiders-killed/-/1950480/2129582/-/format/xhtml/-/nbgnuy/-/index.html

The Standard has also run three articles on Turkana oil.

A piece by Kiundu Waweru discusses some of the issues relating to employment for locals with the companies involved in oil exploration in the county. http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/thecounties/article/2000101453/why-turkana-residents-are-yet-to-fully-embrace-oil-exploration?pageNo=1

A second, rather long, piece by Kiundu Waweru discusses the practicalities of oil exploration in the area more generally. The piece is mostly interesting for its comments from people involved and because it gives a sense of how utterly alien the industry and its operations are to the people who live around them. http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/thecounties/article/2000101454/the-black-gold-of-barren-turkana-where-stirrings-of-life-offer-promise?pageNo=1

The third piece by Macharia Kamau looks at the commercial prospects for oil in Turkana and elsewhere in Kenya. http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/business/article/2000101605/anxiety-as-kenya-awaits-commercial-viability-of-oil-find?pageNo=1

Pokot – Turkana Border

The Daily Nation reports that on the 29th of December a police reservist was shot and killed. He was fetching water from the Kerio River in the Lorogon area when he was attacked. http://www.nation.co.ke/counties/Reservist-gunned-down-in-border-row/-/1107872/2128794/-/f18gg9z/-/index.html

Citizen reports that the Pokot Council of Elders has condemned the government for failing to contain rampant cattle raids and the spate of killings at Lorogon village. http://citizennews.co.ke/news/2012/local/item/16020-pokot-elders-protest-over-spate-of-killings

Pokot

The Daily Nation reports that over 400 cattle were from stolen from Noosukro in Mukutani division, Baringo South, by Pokot raiders. http://www.nation.co.ke/news/Tension-high-after-raiders-steal-400-cattle/-/1056/2128836/-/7exjm4/-/index.html

Isiolo

On the 24th December the Star reported that Isiolo police had arrested 11 people with eight automatic rifles and 197 bullets. http://www.the-star.co.ke/news/article-148435/isiolo-police-seize-weapons-barrier

On the 28th of December the Star reported that Igembe Central MP Kubai Kiringo demanded the release of 16 men arrested in Isiolo County with illegal guns. The MP said that there was no need to charge the men because they were not going to steal or attack anyone but only tracking their animals. http://www.the-star.co.ke/news/article-148547/mp-wants-arrested-youths-freed

It is not clear whether the two incidents are connected or not.

Moyale

Tension continues in Moyale with leaders still blaming each other for all the trouble. KTN has this video piece http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/ktn/video/watch/2000073647/-moyale-leaders-meet-over-insecurity-concerns. This disagreement between leaders also forms the basis of a report by Rawlings Otieno in the Counties section of the Standard http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/thecounties/article/2000101599/mps-governor-in-blame-game-over-county-insecurity?pageNo=1

There has been no significant return of the estimated 50,000 people who have displaced by the conflict in and around Moyale.

On the 4th of January 4 herders were killed at Odha. http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/thecounties/article/2000101571/four-people-eleven-camels-killed-in-fresh-inter-clan-violence-in-moyale

Poaching

Xinhua reports that a KWS officer based in Isiolo was arrested for involvement in poaching. The Isiolo County Game Warden, Michael Gichure is quoted as saying “We suspected the officer for a long time and have now managed to arrest him after obtaining credible evidence linking him to poaching”. http://www.coastweek.com/3652-special-report-01.htm

The Star reports on the case of Keleshi Parkusaa, formally an employee of Lewa Downs Conservency, who has owned up to assisting in the poaching of Rhinos in the reserve. http://www.the-star.co.ke/news/article-149148/isiolo-poacher-surrenders-kws-confesses-crimes-public

Isiolo County Governor Godana Doyo has said that the county government intends to improve security in Isiolo’s national parks. http://www.the-star.co.ke/news/article-148795/fresh-plans-boost-security-isiolo-parks

And Finally…..

Here is a report from a National Geographic researcher on the biodiversity of Northern Kenya´s Huri Hills and Mount Forole, there are some pretty pictures too. http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2014/01/03/photos-biodiversity-of-northern-kenyas-huri-hills-and-mount-forole/

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