Strengthening Local Cross-border Conflict Management in Lake Turkana-South Omo Corridor Project


This project is USAID funded regional program run by Pact Kenya in South Omo-Turkana corridor which aims to strengthen local cross border conflict management system and improve the responsiveness of regional & national institutions to cross-border conflicts. The main beneficiaries of the project are the people of North Horr, Lokituang, Lapur and Kalokol sub-counties of Turkana County from Kenya, and Dassanech and Nyangatom Woredas (districts) of South Omo Zone in Ethiopia. PDC implements this project in partnership with Pact Kenya and Saint Peter’s Community Network (SAPCONE).
PEACE III is a five-year USAID funded regional conflict transformation program awarded to Pact Kenya. PEACE III builds upon PEACE I and PEACE II, previous USAID funded conflict programs. Divided into five zones- along the Kenya/Somalia, Kenya/ Ethiopia, Kenya/South Sudan and Kenya/Uganda borders . The program focuses on addressing the diverse and evolving drivers of conflict and insecurity.

Source: PEACE III Annual Report,2017

All of PEACE III’s work that supports local peace institutions, youth groups, women’s networks, and traditional leadership is in support of the program’s objective Community peace building capacities mobilized, and works in alignment with the Theory of Change that: IF networks of community peace leaders are strengthened to work collaboratively with each other and local government, THEN local cross border conflict management will be more effective and sustainable .
Peace and Development Center PDC) and Saint Peter’s Community Network (SAPCNE) jointly implement on the Turkana-South Omo corridor in zone 5. This part of the sub-region is conflict -prone. Dassanech and Nyangatom woredas are the intervention areas on the Ethiopian side. Turkana County is th operational area from Kenya side. The program seeks to contribute to stability in the Horn of Africa region, by strengthening horizontal and vertical linkages within and between local, national, and regional conflict management actors.
PEACE III has two overall objectives :
• To strengthen local cross border conflict management systems (Primary objective).
• To improve the responsiveness of regional and national institutions to cross-border conflict (Secondary objective).
Activities Accomplished
Joint Cross-border Meeting of Local Governments
The Joint Cross-border meeting of local Government Officials of Southern Nations and Nationalities Peoples’ Regional State (SNNPR), South Omo Zone of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE) and Turkana County [Republic of Kenya] was held on 6 October 2016 in the city of Arba-Minch in Ethiopia. The meeting drew together the regional & local administrations from SNNPR, County representatives from Turkana and national representatives of the adjacent border areas. From the Ethiopian side, it was attended by Mr. MamoTega, Deputy Bureau Head, Security and Administration and Mr. Alemayehu Bowudi, Chief Administrator of South Omo Zone, SNNPR, Ethiopia. Mr. Stephen Ikua, County Commissioner, Turkana County; H.E. Peter Lokoyel, Deputy Governor of Turkana County and Peter Eripete- County Secretary among others attended from Kenya side. The meeting also brought together security officers, County administrators and national police commanders, Zone and Woreda administrators and regional police commanders.

The meeting began with welcoming remarks by Mr. Ayten Anemaw, the Executive Director of Peace and Development Centre. He briefed participants about the objectives of the joint cross border meetings including the proposition of strategies for intervention.

The meeting was opened by Ato Birhane Fasil, Head of CEWERU-Ethiopia and Director for IGAD Directorate in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, FDRE. Mr. Birhane underscored the historic relationship between the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and Republic of Kenya. In his deliberation, he highlighted the mutual benefits of enhancing border peace and security for both states. He further noted that the Ethiopian Government was very keen to resolving border issues between three neighboring communities (Nyangatom, Dassanech and Turkana) and expressed that timely action is needed to reduce cattle raids, thefts, human killings and other criminal activities.

The CEWERU-Kenyan representative, Mrs. Selina Wanjiri also underlined the importance of peace in the region which will highly support economic development. She reiterated the government’s commitment in achieving peaceful co-existence at the border. She also appreciated the efforts and commitment of both the national and county government in resolving intra and inter-community conflicts along the border. And thanked the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the SNNPR in particular for organizing this special meeting.

Purpose of the Meeting

The meeting was specifically called and convened to discuss the current security challenges which include killing of innocent people, cattle theft, proliferation of small arms and light weapons at the border areas. In addition, the meeting was aimed at deliberating the way forward towards the realization of peace and tranquility that will foster development and continuous cordial relations.

Updates of the Cross-border Situations

Reports from representatives of Turkana County, and Dassanech and Nyangatom, South Omo Zone were presented. Ato Lore Kakuta and Ato Kebede Sahile, Chief Administrators of Nyangatom and Dassanech woredas respectively, briefed participants about the security situation of their respective woredas. Both administrators stressed that communities living along Ethio-Kenya corridor of the Karamoja cluster are unable to share resources peacefully because of frequent clashes. Ato Kebede underlined that despite multiple agreements reached and relative peace maintained, they were all short-lived. He also mentioned that the situation has become rather worse which requires effective coordination and commitment to bring about lasting solutions in the cross border areas through, among others, bringing the two peoples together.

Mr. Stephen Ikua, expounded a security update from Kenya side. He highlighted the importance of constant consultations and hard work at all levels- from village to national. He emphasized on the importance of peace as a precondition for sustainable development of the two sisterly countries. He added that several peace meetings have been conducted along the corridor and yet most of them remained ineffective. And the two Governments have common agenda mentioning the Road from Isiolo to Moyale as an exemplary one. Mr. Stephen Ikua further reiterated that the access road from Addis-to Mombasa will create positive impact to minimize conflict and thereby enhance development and cooperation. The road to Omorate being asphalted from the Ethiopian side is very important. He observed that similar action will begin soon to construct the road from Kenya side. He underscored the need to strategies how to utilize and share resources so as not to become sources of conflicts and the importance of having timely information sharing and proactive measures. He expressed his sadness about the killing of an Ethiopian elder and promised that the Kenyan counterpart will bring the culprit/criminal to face justice and report back to Ethiopian counterparts during the next joint meeting.
Plenary Discussion
After question and answer session, participants were divided into working groups who reported back recommendations and the ways forward to the plenary session. Following the group reports, the floor was open for discussion.
Ato MamoTega, from SNNPR Bureau of Security and Administration (Ethiopia), underlined that the communities along common borders are the same but they always suffer from conflict primarily due to competition over natural resources. Moreover, limited capacity of law enforcing bodies to ensure rule of law remains a challenge. He therefore proposed that working awareness creation of communities and capacity building of law enforcing bodies as main pillars in order to address the problems along the common borders.
Ato Alemayehu Bwudi added three main problems along the corridor as: i) cattle raids ii) killings and iii) problems associated with fishing in Lake Turkana. He then noted on the importance of joint action to implement agreements with full responsibility, accountability and commitment.

Participants from Kenyan side emphasized the need to focus particularly on early warning and early response as well as proactive intervention before and after violence. In doing this, joint information sharing and feedback exchange is of paramount importance. They strongly suggested on the establishment of Resource Use Committee. Instead of forming peace committee after peace Committee, they stressed that special focus must be given to bring people together to discuss their issues. Furthermore, they mentioned best lessons on conflict resolutions between Pokot and Turkana communities along Uganda and Kenya borders. Mr. Johnston Ekamais, in particular, informed that while cattle raiding/theft and human killings are still continuing along the Ethio-Kenya corridor, a structure –based peace process is working well along Uganda and Kenya corridor. He also pinpointed communication problem and ineffective peace building activities as the main factors why durable peace has not been achieved in this corridor. Mr. Johnston also underlined on the implementation of Turmi agreement proper resource sharing, timely communication and information sharing, communities’ engagement as well as leadership commitment. To realize these, participants were of the view that financial support from Governments and other stakeholders like PDC is highly needed to address cross border conflicts.
Recommendations and Way Forward
The meeting concluded on the discussion of the following areas upon which agreement reached by Kenyan and Ethiopian delegates.
1. Compensation for the life of the old man killed at the Catholic mission festival in Todonyang on 30th July 2016 [arrest the criminal and any other person committing acts of criminality].
2. Identify and dialogue with influential kraal leaders drawn representation from youth, women and elders [14th and 16th October 2016].
3. Communication [need to enhance communication between the local administrations and cross-border].
4. That; both sides agreed not to condone attacks, lootings and killing of innocent persons [Turkana, Dassanech and Nyangatom].
5. Proposed joint – cross border peace meeting to be held between 11th and 13th October 2016 at Turmi-Ethiopia.
6. Agreed; to conduct an inter-local leaders’ peace meeting targeting elders, women, youth, chiefs/kebele leaders for each location to be conducted between 15th -16th 2016 at Turmi to be chaired by high level officials.
7. Conduct kraal feedback meetings at every kraal both Nyangatom and Turkana between 22nd and 24th October 2016.
8. Organize joint youth peace forum on 2nd November 2016, at Kibish. Drawing participants from Lokamarinyang, Koyasa, Napak, Rate, Seleyn, Totale, Sese, Kalem, Loruth, Uwam, Meyan, Kokuro, Kakuta, Lokorilam, and Lobere.
9. Conduct an inter-community dialogue engaging leaders, women elders, and youth in Kibish, Napeikar, Lebere, and Lokrilam.
10. Enhance Joint- Security Patrol at Kibish corridor on weekly or daily basis.
11. Local leaders to be held accountable.
12. Follow up on the implementation of the Turmi Agreement.
In order to promote the implementation of the agreed recommendations above, the meeting unanimously agreed to implement the action plan and Turmi agreement annexed hereby. It has been agreed that the next Joint Border Meeting shall be held on 22nd December, 2016 in Lowdar Kenya.

Women Led Intra-community Healing Dialogue
The dialogue took place in Kangaten, Nyangatom woreda on the Ethiopian side from March 3-4, 2017. In this dialogue, 48 women participated. The Objective of this event is to strengthen women participation in community in the area of peace building and conflict resolution and to create awareness of participants the need for healing reconciliation so that they will mobilize the rest of their community for peace.
During this event there were three women namely Emari Lojko, Nalibas Erusiya and Akuru who were identified for their substantial role in peace building (see picture below). Two of them are participants of Kitale women forum who brought the regional women resolutions and aware community members about the right of women for participation. The third woman was community member and she is known for her strong participation in different community affairs and she guided women participants towards healing and understanding the need for peaceful interaction.

Women Led Intra-community Dialogue Participants
The participants made clear that issues of women participation in different community activities is very poor and this trend should be changed. Furthermore, they expressed when it comes to conflict women are mostly affected. Yet no body including government and NGOs were giving adequate attention for women engagement. On this event, issues of healing and reconciliation were discussed and urged PDC and local government representatives to facilitate a meeting with Turkana women in order to calm down a tense situation in the corridor.
During this event, participants of the Kitale, regional women forum participants, were attended and explained about the resolutions of that meeting. Women participants also recommended to hold regional dialogue among women of Dassanech, Nyangatom and Turkana, they recommended conflict management training for women.
It was observed that there is need to strengthen the existing of Women led intra-community healing dialogues. This will attribute to cross-border peace structures for enhanced dialogues and problem solving. Women are happy with activities being carried out by Peace III and they are willing to cooperate with and support civil societies in implementing those activities and other initiatives.
Operational lessons from this event: first engaging women and ensuring their strong participation will play significant role in any peace building activities and development activities, particularly women in Nyangatom are very known for peace promotion trough their cultural dancing and music throughout the Karamoja cluster. Second, whenever there are anger and sense of revenge between different communities, it will be fruitful when women are engaged to calm down the situation on the ground because women are easy for healing and reconciliation.
Women Intra Healing¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬ Dialogue
The event took place from 1st – 2nd March, 2017 in Omorate, Dassanech woreda in which 55 participants attended. During this event, it was discussed how to empower and engage women to play their role in conflict management and peace building activities in their respective community. They appreciated the event as a good beginning and suggested for PDC and local government bodies to continue engaging women in matters that affects their life. Women participants promised to commit themselves in playing their role of making peace with Turkana by convincing their children not to incite any kind of conflict with them. Participants agreed on the need of community healing and power of forgiveness will lead to reconciliation with Turkana community.
On this event, there was a woman who actively engaged in directing women participants to the healing and reconciliation from just talking about past incidents and injuries. During the event she managed to lead them to come to reconciliation and initiating the need for peaceful interactions in the future for both communities.
Operational lessons from this event: first engaging women and ensuring their strong participation will play significant role in any peace building activities and development activities, particularly women in Dassanech can play significant role by prohibiting themselves from encouraging warriors and their children, through songs and other traditional activities. Second, whenever there are anger and sense revenge between different communities it will be fruitful for calming down the situation on the ground because women are easy for healing and reconciliation.
Joint Women Forum
A joint women forum was organized from 12-12, June 2017 in Lowaregnak, Turkana County, Kenya. A total of 60 participants- 30 women from Dassanech and 30 women from Turkana participated in the forum from Ethiopia and Kenyay.
The Objective of this event was to strengthen women participation in communities in the area of peace building and conflict resolutions and to create awareness of these participants the need for healing reconciliation so that they will mobilize the rest of their communities for peace and joint sharing natural resources.
During this event, participants openly and actively participated and discussed different issues. A woman from Turkana stated that conflicts between Dassanech and Turkana has persisted due to te absence of proper mechanism for resolving them. Participants have expressed their appreciation for organizing this for women and they expressed their complaint about lack of inclusiveness of women in the efforts of peace building and conflict management processes. They emphasized that women should be recognized as a major stakeholder in the process of conflict resolution. Moreover, women have natural and inherent peace building ability that need to be tapped. The other issue women emphasized during this discussion was about the burden of conflict on women. They said women are the part of community most affected by conflict. Due to conflict women become head of household which leave them more vulnerable for different problems. Due to these reasons, the women focused on their participation in different community activities. Another woman from Turkana stated that, “occurrence of women’s leadership and peace building initiatives has historically led to making a right decision.”
A woman from South Omo on her side said:
“women wish to participate in conflict resolution and decision making in matters that affect their lives and the well-being of their children … She emotionally insisted, “we are tired of burial of our sons and husbands… we suffer several times when giving births and killings.”
It was discussed that women bear a heavy burden in conflict and post conflict societies, both directly through violence perpetrated against themselves and their families and as survivors attempting to reconstruct destroyed communities. During this event, participants emphasized on their inclusiveness in peace building. They also suggested that integrating women in decision making and peace building approaches will alleviate South Omo and Turkana conflict.
Both PDC and SAPCONE observed the various attributes of women that lean towards peacemaking. Women are more affectionate in their relationship with others, more than the men. Women care more for other human beings, they show more empathy, and think more about human and social consequences of acts, more than the men. The issues they discussed divulged the need of frequency in Women forums in peace dialogues. Therefore, women should be given every necessary assistance and encouragement to bear on conflict areas so that South Omo and Turkana will move forward and have a better image between two nations.
Lessons Learned
Frequency of activity should be improved to make recognition of the women in the society in peace dialogues and peace buildings. Developing the mechanism allowing women participation in the peace process is crucial since women and girls are impacted differently during the war and the role of women in conflict resolution is still widely under recognized and underestimated.

A woman giving her opinion on the role of women in peace building, June12,2017.
Chiefs’ Led Inter-Community Dialogue
On this event, there was a woman who actively engaged in directing women participants to the healing and reconciliation from just talking about past incidents and injuries. During the event, she managed to lead them to come to resolutions and initiating the need for peaceful interactions in the future for both communities.
Chiefs’ Led Inter-community Dialogue
The chiefs’ forum was formed on 17 March, 2017 in Omorate, Dassanech woreda. The forum was a follow up for the implementation of the resolutions agreed on the Arba Minch resolution in 2016. The chiefs’ forum discussed the security situation across the corridor. It discussed the Arba Minch resolution as chiefs from both sides who were tasked during the meeting to inquire more about who were involved in the signing of the Arba Minch meeting and deliberate on possible avenues of improving levels of resource sharing.
Significant Issues Discussed
Ekeno Lojuko the chief and member of peace committee from Nyangatom stated: “…we are in need to keep peace with Dassanech alive. We would not allow anyone to break it. We agreed to share pasture in our common border”.
Yet, the old chief depicted his doubt about making peace with Turkana. He explained the participants as the border area around Kibish is highly insecure with various armed groups from Kenya roaming with their heavy weapons to use water and pasture with little regard and respect for the Nyangatom community. He also acknowledged the past attempts by PDC and SAPCONE by bringing semblance of peace in the area for sharing of natural resources have met with little success due to deep seated differences and culture of raiding cherished by the Turkana. He discussed the missing of Kibish chiefs from Kenya side as indication of poor coordination from SAPCONE in handling peace dialogues.
Yerkutan Losia, an elder from Dassanech reiterated the government should follow the criminal who killed an elder from Todonyang. The action would reveal the weakness of the government in solving cases among its citizens and conflicting communities. He insisted, “if the issue defeats the government then, we should be solving our problems instead of reporting to the government which has lost her sovereignty of protecting its citizens.”
Emuria Simon, an elder from Turkana, discussed that since the increment of educated youths in communities, there is escalation of fighting among the communities. He recalled the traditional way of solving problems as better than the current methods.
Chiefs from Nyangatom community insisted that the absence of Kibish chiefs from Kenya side evidenced the weakness of handling peace dialogues. They insisted that they needed to be called when chiefs from both conflicting communities are present. They reiterated that the chiefs’ forum was meant between Dassanech and Turkana only.
One elder from Turkana elaborated the killing of elder from Todonyang had lacked coordination and that is why an incident happened. He suggested of proper communication and coordination between border administrations before they conduct any activity. The forum condemned the previous killing of an elder and each side promised of not hearing the same in future.
One of the chiefs from Turkana discussed that the delay of activities implementation created gaps hence the small issues escalate…” we are depending on organizations, because of budget we could not frequently meet. These activities are meaningless if they are not conducted subsequently as planned and on time”. He reiterated that the activities should not wait until incidents happen.
Kiru Ekamais, an elder from Turkana noted that the traditional beliefs and praises from the communities is the cause of death…. He gave an example; the practice of circumcision of Dassanech boys is repeatedly account for the attacks they suffer.
The key outcome of this particular event was that Dassanech, Nyangatom and Turkana relationship is much needed to be harmonized. They identified and prioritized cross-border conflict issues and made agreements on how to resolve them; thus, collaboration with Turkana on cross border conflict resolution and peace building endeavor was strongly discussed by the forum. On this event, participants underlined on the enhancement of cross -border collaboration between the peace committees and enhanced joint natural resources sharing, use and environment conservation, increased collaboration and reconciliation between South Omo and Turkana cross-border
The Issues observed during the event that the chiefs’ forum felt about the impact of war. We have also observed that there is need to strengthen the existing relationship between Nyangatom and Dassanech and this will attribute to cross-border peace structures for enhanced dialogues and problem solving.
Lessons Learnt During the Event
Cattle-raiding and conflict are deeply rooted in the local culture leading to a cycle of violence, revenge and counter-revenge. Atrocities and human rights violations rooted in the past cause breeding ground for fear, hate and renewed conflict. Healing old wounds (traditionally) is part of our peace work. Ritual cleansing ceremonies and commemorations of historic peace agreements are important to build mutual trust among the border communities (Dassanech, Turkana and Nyangatom).
Celebration of Fishing Communities’ Peaceful Coexistence
The venue took place in Omorate, Ethiopia from 18-19 December,2017. The purpose of the event was to sensitize the two groups (Dassanech & Turkana) to strengthen their peaceful relationship and to facilitate a platform whereby they agree to share natural resources for instance fishing along lake delta area within in a peaceful manner. In addition, the event was meant to lobby the two communities to harmonized strategies for cross-border peace building initiatives and enable fishing committees to engage in peace promotion and conflict resolutions.
The major issue discussed in this venue was conflict related to the fishing ground, which now has interference by different businessmen in the fishing market. This fishing market escalate conflict among these communities in different ways, because of the high competition among businessmen they incite warriors by paying them to prevent communities from fishing and sending them to steal fishing nets. This poses conflict and increase mistrust among fishing communities. Participants have reached agreement to work together to fight against these businessmen and cross border fishing committee members were asked by participants to work hand in hand in order to deescalate the current conflict on the fishing ground.
Finally, participants have discussed on how to enhance communication and information exchange among cross border peace committees. They urged PDC, SAPCONE and local administrations to facilitate regular meetings among members. They requested technical support and capacity building trainings. Twenty mobile phones were distributed by PDC and SAPCONE to the fishing committees’ in order to enhance communications among cross border committee members and local administrations. They said that the more flow of information the more they can prevent incidents from happening; because of this strengthening communication channels will be an essential step towards efforts of creating peaceful interaction and conflict mitigation between these communities.
On this meeting representative of Kenyan marine unit has appreciated improvement of situation and mutual sharing of fishing by two communities. He discussed with Ethiopian local officials on how to maintain peace initiative along the lake delta area. They agreed also to identify any stolen nets from Turkana by Dassanech so that exchange of stolen nets will be done soon in coordination with security bodies of both sides.
On the conclusion of the meeting participants have noted the need for strong engagement of local institution in the process of designing mechanism of conflict resolution for them. They also made clear that any intervention in this area should be sensitive to the situation on the ground.
Outcomes of the Event
The key outcome of this particular event was that agreement on further intervention to minimize tension and maintain mutual sharing of natural resources between the border along Lake delta area between Turkana and Dassanech communities. SAPCONE and PDC was mandated to implement community- based activities on the ground.
In this event, it was observed the Fishing Committees’ commitment and determination to maintain peaceful co-existence. Furthermore, the local governments presence in discussion depicted their will to monitor the agreement met and support the local peace actors such as PDC and SAPCONE
Lessons Learnt During the Event
The Dassanech and Turkana communities should be educated on the position and meaning of state borders. The local government should support the clarification and awareness creation process in every way it can to combat rumors that are perilous sources of conflict.

Joint cross-border Chiefs’ Forum
The Joint cross-border Chiefs’ Forum was organized from 24th to 25th, September 2017 in Omorate, Ethiopia which aimed at creating enabling environment for chiefs so as to improve tension existing among the border communities (Dassanech, Turkana and Nyangatom), and agree on strategies for intervention that resume peaceful interaction along the border on sharing natural resources. On this forum, 26 participants from Ethiopia attended the forum. Representative of local government of both countries has participated and contributed for the forum. The forum was opened by welcoming Remarks of PDC and SAPCONE representatives and the opening speech was made by Dassanech Woreda Security Personnel, in his opening remark, the woredas representative, stressed on the negative impacts of cross border conflict on his communities along the border. He began his statement by noting that the both Dassanech, Nyangatom and Turkana are continuously affected by endemic violent cross border conflicts. These conflicts have continuously undermined the development and threatened livelihood of the pastoralists groups. He acknowledged that the Chiefs Forums meeting organized availed an opportunity to address various issues influencing inter-community conflicts along common border areas. In this regard, the representative, underscored that if development and increased quality of life of the pastoralist communities were to be realized, and then it is imperative for peace and security to be fostered. He stated that ‘this is a good opportunity that the three communities come together to share their ideas and opinions on sustaining their peaceful relationship. The issue of cattle rustling and theft was emphasized by the participants so far. Traditionally, cattle raiding is a way for young men to achieve the status of a hero. Cows and AK-47 continue to be a measuring device for status over generations. Traditional mechanisms of conflict management are used to change and break the cycle of violence. Furthermore, the Nyangatom raised that unlike the Turkana youth their youth have so many things to do. They are busy of development work. They allegedly discussed that the Turkana youths who have no jobs and dropped out of the school are the one in the frontline of all the violence between the two. Most of these communities involved in violent conflicts have been blamed for their lack of education, unemployment and the need for cultural conformity by a warrior, which guarantees upward social mobility in many of these communities. As to Epur Logerewoi the traditional leader and member of peace committee at Nakeriaman Kebele, “…the Ethiopian government is telling out youths to contribute to poverty reduction, peace and long-term sustainable ecological and economic development of our land in a context of climate change”.
During this forum different main issues discussed by participants which contributed to increased tension among communities of Dassanech, Turkana and Nyangatom. Intervention of the Kenyan government in the communal conflict and political situation in Kenya election campaigners provide arms for pastoralists in order to get vote. Pparticipants have expressed their concern over tensions that has been high from time to time among these communities. They said reason for these tensions is lack of interaction among them. There was no chance of meeting each other for these communities for long time and this has increased suspicion towards each other. Furthermore, the incidents that have been happening around the border widened the gap. So, they appreciated the initiative of organizing the forum, which has created an opportunity for them to meet with their Turkana counterparts even though the number of Turkana participants were not satisfactory, they hoped the message of this will reach the rest of Turkana chief because chiefs from the Kibish did not participate. On this discussion, participants have emphasized on the issue of enhancing peaceful interaction among chiefs from both sides in order to calm down the current tension. Moreover, participants urged the government bodies to coordinate and facilitate dialogues with the support of PDC and SAPCONE.
Chief participants discussed issues of rumors that causes incidents in order to curb this practice. They agreed there is a need to strengthen information channel whereby community can exchange genuine information that stop creating tensions and confusion among these communities.
The other issue raised by Ethiopian side chiefs was that the previous election in Kenya has exacerbated the border conflict and they said some political campaigners provide arms for Kenyan pastoralists in order to get their vote on the coming election. On the other hand, a Kenya arm force also intervenes in communal conflicts in the area and they suggested Kenyan local officials to inform their security bodies. The final issue discussed was the effects of climate change on the grazing land in South Omo. South Omo pastoralists have faced serious shortage of grazing land last year and that was the other problem for the repeated incidents that was happening in the corridor.
Outcomes of the Event
The key outcome of this particular event was that Dassanech, Nyangatom and Turkana relationships are much needed to be harmonized. Both Dassanech, Nyangatom and Turkana identify and prioritize cross-border conflict issues and made agreements on how to resolve them. Collaboration with Turkana on cross border conflict resolution and peace building endeavor was strongly discussed by the forum. During this event, the participants enhanced cross border collaboration between the peace committees and enhanced joint natural resources sharing, use and environment conservation. Increased collaboration and reconciliation between South Omo and Turkana cross-border.
The issues observed in this event is that the chiefs’ forum felt about the impact of war and a need for strengthening existing relationships between Nyangatom, Dassanech and Turkana. This will attribute to cross-border peace structures for enhanced dialogues and problem solving.
Lessons Learnt During the Event
Cattle-raiding and conflict are deeply rooted in the local culture leading to a cycle of violence, revenge and counter-revenge. Atrocities and human rights violations rooted in the past cause breeding ground for fear, hate and renewed conflict. Healing old wounds (traditionally) is part of our peace work. Ritual cleansing ceremonies and commemorations of historic peace agreements are important to build mutual trust among the border communities (Dassanech, Turkana and Nyangatom).
Achievements of the Project
Significant changes in cross border community relationships

Over the past 12 months, the program has witnessed improvements in the relationships between cross-border communities. Where tensions were high this has resulted in open conflict being avoided. Where communities have achieved some level of peace, agreements and frameworks have consolidated this progress.

Dassanech-Turkana Relations

At the start of the year, relations between the Dassanech community of South Omo zone, in Ethiopia and the Turkana of Kenya had significantly deteriorated due to the killing of Dassanech elder before last year. Tension rose to near full-scale conflict, communication between the local governments was limited. A year later, the relations have significantly improved and tension has been contained to minimal levels. Communication between local governments has improved, communities along the border are crossing freely, women from both sides meet and dialogue, and the fishing communities just celebrated a year of peacefully sharing the waters of Lake Turkana. Recently, a Dassanech child was returned by the Turkana after getting lost. These actions indicate a shift in the willingness of the communities to reconcile.

These changes resulted from collaboration between PEACE III and the Conflict Early Warning and Early Response Units (CEWERU) of both countries. Indirect talks were held with the two local governments, culminating in a round table in Arba Minch, Ethiopia, where the Arba Minch Resolutions were developed.

These resolutions set a series of other interventions into motion. PEACE III focused its work with more neutral groups, such as women, to influence local governments to act. Additionally, the program used opportunities, such family reunions, to foster communication and build trust.

Challenges Faced During Activities Implementation
The main constrains to cross-border peacebuilding intervention in South Omo-Turkana corridor remain not as much of expected. The lack of stakeholders working in the area of peace building at the region and the less implementation of actions weakened the peace effort in the area. In addition, most local government institutions and traditional leaders lack the necessary capacities to deal with cross border violence. Disregard of traditional conflict mitigation institutions and lack of active community involvement further compound these problems. Most importantly, disarmament needs to be better coordinated across the border and the security of disarmed communities needs to be improved.
There were recurrent conflicts in the areas taking place. It was observed that these were because of financial benefits that some pastoralists were getting from the organizations during peace talks. They used these peace talks to gain financial benefits through per diems. Participants from conflict hotspot areas were not represented sometimes especially on Kibish side of Kenya. This weakened our joint cross-border peace forums with our partners. Disregard of traditional conflict mitigation institutions and lack of active community involvement further compound these problems.

Recommendation and Way Forward

Frequent cross border activities have to be carried out so as to sooth/calm down the current tension and violence along the border among Dassanech, Nyangatom and Turkana. The participants commended and appreciated the communal initiatives by PDC and SAPCONE and agreed to instruct the chief’s forum to work closely and support these initiatives to consolidate and sustain peace along the border.

The CEWERU structures both in Kenya and Ethiopia must engage in addressing communal cross border conflict aside from their primarily role of responding to conflicts. This include sensitizing the communities about international borders

The represented chief’s forum accepted to coordinate and work together to condemn any conflicting activities among the communities. The chiefs’ forum came up with an idea that PDC and SAPCONE should provide capacity building training and necessary communication materials such as Printed T-shirts and Radio calls for the Peace Committee and the youth groups because it was considered crucial to make the peace structures a well-functioning and effective early warning and response within the affected vicinities.

Agreement with the Dassanech, Nyangatom and Turkana communities during the upcoming meetings about joint use of natural resources along the borders by bringing together representatives of competing groups and other key actors such as local governments is crucial. With joint facilitation of PDC and SAPCONE, issues of joint usage of natural resources and other conflict triggers can be discussed openly and solutions found.

Leave a reply