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Kenya steps up security at Sudan border

Sunday October 18 2009



Kenya Soldiers at the the border. PHOTO/ FILE

Kenya Soldiers at the the border. PHOTO/ FILE 

By BARNABAS BII

Kenya has stepped up security near its border with Sudan after reports of clashes between police and Toposa pastoralists.

The General Service Unit, Administration Police and regular police are said to have engaged a combined force of Toposa militia for the second day running on Sunday.

The fighting is reported to have taken place at Nadapal, five kilometres inside Kenya. Some Kenya Army personnel are also said to be on the ground to give backing in case they are issued with orders.

Scores of people have fled Nadapal area towards Lokichogio, some 25 kilometres away following the fight which began on Thursday.

The Kenyan security team, led by Lokitang police boss Ngonya Waigonya and Turkana West district officer Eric Wanyonyi, has denied claims that 16 Kenyan soldiers had been shot dead by the Toposa militiamen.

Mr Waigonya said the Kenya security forces have been involved in an operation to flush out criminals along the Nadapal-Lokichogio highway who have been terrorising motorists and local residents.

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“There were exchange of fire between our security forces and the Toposa militia but no fatalities were reported on our side” said Mr Waigonya.

It was reported at the weekend that 16 Kenya Army personnel were killed by the Toposa raiders at the Nadapal Barracks on the Kenya-Sudan border.

Contested area

Nadapal has remained a contested area, with both countries claiming it. This has triggered frequent clashes.

According to Riam Riam peace network coordinator Joseph Elim, the Toposa established an army barracks near the Nadapal border point in order to give them full access to grass and water on the Kenyan side.

He said more than 10 people had been killed and more than 11,000 animals stolen in the last two months following attacks by Toposa raiders.