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Water point has been a source of rivalry

BUSIA
By | March 30th 2009

By Vincent Bartoo and Isaiah Lucheli

Lake Turkana is the world’s largest permanent desert lake in an arid, rocky terrain.

Apart from the strong winds blowing from it, nothing betrays the existence of the lake. Yet in terms of volume, it is the world’s fourth largest salt lake.

It was named Lake Rudolf in honour of Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria by European explorers Samuel Teleki (Hungarian) and Ludwig Ritter (Austrian), who ‘discovered’ it on March 6, 1888.

Rivers Omo, Turkwel and Kerio flow into the lake and its waters are known to cause sudden and violent storms.

A planned boat ride by Fisheries Minister Paul Otuoma in the lake two weeks ago had to be cut short after it was declared unsafe.

Dr Otuoma toured the lake to hear fishermen’s grievances among them an appeal for assistance to acquire boats that could withstand the lake’s raging currents.

Councillor Peter Etelei told the minister that some fishermen had died after their puny boats capsized.

Lake Turkana’s northern end crosses into Ethiopia, allowing fishermen from the neighbouring country to fish in it.

However, this prompted a long-standing rivalry between fishermen from the two countries, who do not see eye to eye.

Namukuse chief Moses Lopeyok told The Standard that Merille and Gabra fishermen-cum raiders had killed several Kenyan fishermen.

Most dangerous

He cited Kampi Turkana and Nakwakolea areas in the lake as the most dangerous fishing points, where Kenyan fishermen were prone to attacks.

"We have recovered bodies of fishermen floating on the lake with missing private parts," said Lopeyok.

Other fishermen have never been traced and their bodies are believed to have been devoured by crocodiles.

"We have since learnt that the raiders take private parts as evidence of their bravery," claimed Lopeyok.

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Water point has been a source of rivalry
Lake Turkana is the world’s largest permanent desert lake in an arid, rocky terrain. Apart from the strong winds blowing from it, nothing betrays the existence of the lake. Yet in terms of volume, it is the world’s fourth largest salt lake.
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