Clashes leave Moyale in blackout for six months

Tribal clashes in southern Ethiopia has left Kenya’s border town of Moyale in a blackout for the last six months.

Moyale, located 777km northwest of the capital Nairobi, relies heavily on electricity supply from Ethiopia although Kenya Power has back up diesel-powered generators.

The power supply was disrupted following deadly clashes between rival tribes in Ethiopia’s Regions Four and Five that left hundreds dead last February, thousands of families displaced and massive scale of property destroyed.

The clashes, still on-going, pits Oromo’s segment of Borana from Region Four against Somali’s Gare clan from Region Five.

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Kenyan officials are optimistic that new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed will fix the border problems that includes power supply and insecurity.

Yesterday, official sources from both Kenya and southern Ethiopian said the power supply to Moyale was cut off completely following damages caused to transmission lines and transformers by the rival combatants.

Kenya Power was also faulted for not coming in as two of its generators brought from Nyeri and Nairobi to replace the old one malfunctioned.

Joseph Njue, an engineer with Kenya Power in Moyale, yesterday said the border town has had a power blackout for the last five to six months.

‘‘We rely on import of electricity from Ethiopia, but tribal wars there caused massive damages to power transmission lines and transformers,’’ Mr Njue told Saturday Standard on phone.

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An official from southern Ethiopia said they are keen to repair the transmission lines.

Ali Noor Mumin, the Kenya Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chairman, Moyale branch said traders had incurred losses running into hundreds of millions due to lack of power.

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EthiopiaMoyaleKenya Power