Lokeno tells gov’t to settle Nadapal dispute amid fresh fight

By William Madouk

Kapoeta East County authority has appealed to national government to activate border commission to address Nadapal border dispute with Kenya amid renewed clashes among armed Toposa and Turkana youth from neighboring Kenya.  

Kapoeta East County Commissioner, Abdallah Angelo Lokeno said the rowdy started eight days ago when Turkana west authorities with Kenyan Minister of Interior claimed that Nadapal including Lockichiggio are part Kenya borders.  

“This news was received with wider condemnation and rejection from Toposa community however the issues escalated when Kenyan forces entered north and west of Nadapal to Lockichiggio,” Lokeno told this paper in a phone interview yesterday.

Commissioner Lokeno explained that, he and the governor of Eastern Equatoria, Louis Lobong Lojore advised the community to shun violence emphasizing that the issue will be resolved tactfully.

He further said the renewed clashes transpired when Turkana tribesmen attacked and raided unknown number of cattle two days ago.

“This morning [Monday] they meet at grazing zone, Toposa youth ask Turkana for reasons of raiding their cattle and again brought their cattle for grazing into their territory. So, the fought this morning and it’s still ongoing but some minutes ago clashes stop,” Lokeno said.

He revealed that one officer from South Sudan Custom police sustained serious injuries during cross fire in a fierce fighting.

When asked whether the clashes was about cattle raiding or border issues, Mr. Lokeno stated that it is cross-cutting matter because Kenyan alleged that where Toposa cattle grazed is part of their soil.

“The issue is a cross-cutting matter, to Kenyan it is because it’s a part of their border and grasses that Toposa cattle grazed doesn’t belong to Toposa and if Toposa want to go there they must have papers – which mean Nadapal and Lokichoggio belong to Kenya,” he lamented.

The Commissioner claimed that he prevented the community from taking law into their hands but his Kenyan counterpart failed to play his role. He further urged the national government to solve Nadapal dispute.

“National government must activate, reinforce and provide with funds to the border commission to commence their work so that they can deescalate the tension as soon as possible,” Lokeno appealed.

Kapeota East Commissioner also asked the national government to be serious over the border issues and appealed to organized forces to defend the sovereign borders of the country.

For his part, the governor of Eastern Equatoria, Louis Lobong on Saturday while addressing Toposa community in Nadapal said Lokichoggio is South Sudan border with Kenya and no inch of the territory will be taken.

Lobong who flew to the area appealed to the youth to be calm and allow the government to take necessary measure to bring an end to continuous encroachment.

He further said committee on international borders are doing their best to engage neighbors to adhere to original borders of South Sudan. 

Two days ago, youth of Kapoeta East County asked President Salva Kiir Mayardit to address Nadapal border dispute.

The youth that displayed several banners bearing their demands further urged the Kenyan government to stop instigating conflict between Toposa and Turkana.

According to Standard Media-Kenya; leaders of Turkana County held talks with the government of Eastern Equatoria State last month following rounds of tensions at Nadapal Kenya-South Sudan border.

The Turkana County Commissioner, Mr. Jacob Ouma said suspected militia shot at the security installations at Nadapal border, adding that talks were ongoing between the two neighboring countries.

However No.1 Citizen Daily Newspaper could not immediately reach Kenya’s Turkana County authorities for comment on the cross-border clashes.

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