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Turkana oil standoff: Leaders declare truce after talks

Friday July 6 2018

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Turkana leaders have declared a truce and allowed resumption of oil transportation after a week of protests.

The decision was announced after the leaders held a day-long meeting with Petroleum and Mining Cabinet Secretary John Munyes and Rift Valley Regional Coordinator Mongo Chimwaga.

The meeting was called a week after residents blocked five trucks ferrying crude oil to Mombasa at Kalemngorock Centre along the Lokichar-Kapenguria road on June 27.

In the meeting held at Lokori in Turkana East and convened by Mr Munyes, the leaders led by Turkana County Governor Josphat Nanok said Tullow Oil was free to transport crude oil beginning next week on Wednesday.

Residents, backed by local leaders among them Turkana East MP Mohammed Ali Lokiru and his Turkana South colleague James Lomenen, demanded beefing up of security on the Turkana-Baringo border citing livestock theft.

They were also demanding recovery of stolen livestock, share of oil jobs and tenders.



Addressing journalists after the Thursday meeting, Mr Chimwaga promised the residents that the government will do everything possible to recover stolen livestock.

"Of importance is the review of deployment of both specialised security personnel and National Police reservists within the county. The leaders gave specific areas that they want deployment strengthened. That will be done immediately by the county police commanders in Turkana and Baringo," Mr Chimwaga said.

Mr Chimwaga said they were eager to ensure smooth oil operations in the region.

"We want to put up structures in place so that if there are any concerns from the community then everybody knows what platform they can present them for deliberations and agreements," he added.

The talks were also attended by Governor Nanok’s deputy, Peter Lethiro, Turkana County Commissioner Seif Matata, former Turkana East MP Nicholas Ngikor, area MCAs and senior county government officials.

"The deployment of General Service Unit and Rapid Deployment Unit officers will be done in three days,” he said.

The volatile Kapedo area has been the most affected by bandit attacks and Mr Chimwaga said a special deputy county commissioner and more police reservists will be posted there in two weeks’ time.


Mr Munyes, who hails from the county, told the residents that concerns on jobs, tenders and community support would be looked into.

"On Friday next week, we will have a conference to discuss local issues. We will identify professionals and leaders for engagement with the ministry and Tullow Oil on how to deal with grievances," Mr Munyes said.

The CS lauded the residents for not resorting to violence during their protests.

"This month, we will enhance community engagements especially on sensitising them on the second phase. The country has spent Sh200 billion in the first phase up to this stage of oil transportation and now we are about to pump Sh300 billion for the second phase that includes a pipeline from Lokichar to port of Lamu and this expensive investment will require the support of everybody," he said.

Governor Nanok asked the regional coordinatorr to also ensure security patrols are enhanced to assure residents and motorists of their security.

"As leaders in Turkana we will, therefore, allow oil transportation to resume but we requested until Wednesday for us to sensitise the community on the resolutions of the meeting so that the Early Oil Pilot Scheme is not halted again," the governor said.

Mr Lomenen and Mr Lokiru said they have allowed oil transportation to continue but warned against empty promises.