Vandalized Uganda-Kenya Boundary Markers by Bandits Set for Overhaul

“The vandalised boundary was constructed by colonialists and the local people never participated. We are using local artisans from both countries to construct the pillars using materials that they will also supply. The pillars will be constructed using water, cement, iron bars, and sand to eliminate any suspicion that there are valuable minerals used,”

By Sammy Lutta,

Kenya and Uganda have launched a project to reaffirm border markers vandalised for extraction of by-products believed to be valuable for resale.

The markers, some of which had never been repaired since independence, were destroyed as bandits targeted them over unverified claims that the material used to erect them was made from valuable minerals.

Turkana County, Kenya, and Karamoja Region, Uganda | Download Scientific Diagram

Officials from Kenya International Boundaries Office (Kibo) and Uganda’s Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development announced this week they will be conducting a 15-day boundary reaffirmation exercise. They will mostly rely on old documents which they say have clear coordinates, pillars and natural features to be followed.

Kibo Director Julius Rotich said the first reaffirmation exercise will focus on the 60-kilometer stretch at Lomokori in Turkana, which is the most vandalised. It is part of the 933-kilometre boundary between Kenya and Uganda.

The 60-kilometre stretch will see pillars erected at intervals of 200 metres and will also involve local participation of pastoralist communities who have often fought over pasture in the unmarked areas.

UPDF deploys on Uganda-Kenya border over Turkana attacks - New Vision Official
UPDF deployment on Uganda-Kenya border over Turkana attacks

“The vandalised boundary was constructed by colonialists and the local people never participated. We are using local artisans from both countries to construct the pillars using materials that they will also supply. The pillars will be constructed using water, cement, iron bars, and sand to eliminate any suspicion that there are valuable minerals used,” he explained on Tuesday.

Moroto Deputy Resident District Commissioner Mr Justin Tuko, who led the Ugandan delegation, said that tension along the border has been rising whenever herders and elders differed on where the boundary was, resulting in cattle raids and killing of innocent civilians.

An armoured personnel carrier patrolling Kainuk town
n armoured personnel carrier patrolling Kainuk town in Turkana County, Kenya. The first reaffirmation exercise will focus on the 60-kilometer stretch at Lomokori in Turkana, which is the most vandalised. It is part of the 933-kilometre boundary between Kenya and Uganda. PHOTO | SAMMY LUTTA

“It will be historical that the two countries are officially reopening the boundary. This will ensure proper planning and budgeting for services by respective governments boosting access to basic services by border residents,” Mr Tuko said. He represents the administrative region that borders Kenya’s West Pokot County.

In June last year, more than 25,000 herders from Turkana North, Turkana West, Turkana Central, and Loima Sub-Counties fled back into Kenya following mounting tension at the border. They had been relying on the Ugandan side for pasture and water.

The pillars may not immediately end these kinds of tensions especially since the border is often porous. But officials argued markers could guide herders to know where their land reaches, enhancing future communal interactions that are based on cooperation rather than rustling.

Turkana Governor Jeremiah Lomorukai said that boundary disputes have been catalysing conflicts among warring pastoral communities.

#bandits #vandalisedboundarymarkers #ugandaandkenya #turkana

 

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