Two Turkana leaders have asked the government to suspend the Early Oil Pilot Scheme to first secure the region from the clutches of armed bandits.
The request by the two leaders comes only a week after President Uhuru Kenyatta flagged off transportation of oil from Turkana to the Mombasa refinery.
On Sunday, Turkana Woman Representative Joyce Emanikor and Turkana North MP Christopher Nakuleu said the government should first deal with highway banditry on the Lodwar-Kitale road, persistent bandit attacks and political incitement, which they say are likely to disrupt oil transportation.
“There is need for the government to fix insecurity that has resulted in killing of our people and loss of property [if we are] to sustain transportation of crude oil from the fields [so that] at least what is expected to be of long-term benefit to Kenyans [doesn’t] turn into a curse,” said Ms Emanikor.
A day after President Kenyatta flagged off four trucks transporting oil in Lokichar, three people, among them a police reservist, were killed in Lokori, Turkana East.
“It is unfortunate that some of these attacks took place even after the president issued stern warnings to individuals in possession of illegal weapons and cautioned leaders against inciting local communities against each other,” said Ms Emanikor.
Ms Emanikor asked the government to crack down on leaders suspected to be behind persistent attacks between pastoralist communities.
“The attacks are no longer about cattle raids but political incitement to displace some communities in the scramble for natural resources,” claimed Ms Emanikor.
There are at least eight oil fields Turkana East and Turkana South and the region has experienced persistent and protracted attacks between pastoralist communities.