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Land scarcity drives a bout of ethnic violence in Kenya, Ethiopia

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I am having trouble piecing together exactly what happened this week, but several Merille were apparently killed on Monday near Lake Turkana. Separately, according to the Nairobi Star, a group of Turkana crossed into Ethiopia and made purchases at a market. Following their return to Kenya (possibly after a fishing expedition to Lake Turkana), the Turkana were attacked on Tuesday by Merille and some 20-40 Turkana, or more, were killed. A reprisal by Turkana fighters claimed five Merille lives shortly thereafter. Further attacks reportedly claimed more Turkana lives.

According to the above-mentioned Nairobi Star account, this violence is part of a pattern that reaches back years:

The massacre is the latest in attacks that have pitted communities within the Elemi Triangle – the once disputed triangular border area between Kenya, Sudan and Ethiopia – and the area has known no peace.

The region has been home to protracted and intermittent cattle rustling with many killed, maimed and much property lost. The Elemi Triangle has until recently been ‘unwanted’ and not economically developed by any regional government. Differences of perception and significance of the area between the authorities and the local herders has persisted for decades.

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