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Catalogue of Merille attacks on Kenyans

By Vincent Bartoo

There has been rising insecurity along the Ethiopia-Kenya border where pastoralists living there have engaged each other in bloody conflicts.

The presence of Kenya Army battalions and General Service Unit platoons at various points near the border has failed to stop the armed bandits from crossing into the country to steal cattle.

Merille militia from Ethiopian has caused mayhem in the area, visiting terror on innocent Turkana residents who have been caught unaware in several attacks along the border.

The organised gang leaves a trail of death, their victims being Kenyan civilians and security personnel.

The attacks have also left untold anguish for families whose relatives have been felled by the militia, and have now fled their homes for fear of repeat attacks.

Early 2009, Merrile warriors killed more than 20 people in Kibish and Kokuro areas in what was suspected to be a ritual killing.

It is believed that the militia take victims private parts to their country for ceremonies to graduate to warriors.

In December 2009 suspected Merille militia killed a senior GSU officer at Todonyang after they attacked a GSU camp.

Abducted

And in January last year, the militia attacked a village in Turkana and killed three people including a woman, an Administration Police officer and a Kenya Police Reservist.

Three fishermen were abducted during the attack at Todonyang village, along the border.

The gang sprayed the officers and the woman with bullets killing them instantly while on their way from drawing water in a river.

The heavily armed Merrile tribesmen have on many occasions invaded key fishing grounds along Lake Turkana forcing more than 200 Turkana villagers to flee the area.

The militia have taken over Todonyang belt, a rich fishing ground and halted fishing activities of Turkana residents.

In 2008, a driver and a mechanic working for a Catholic parish in Turkana North District were shot dead by same Merille raiders.

It was reported that Mr Lucas Baraza who worked for Our Lady Queen of Peace Todonyang Mission was repairing a windmill at Lake Turkana when raiders shot him.

Later in the same year, the Merille raiders opened fire and killed three Kenyans after a dispute over fishing territory in Lake Turkana.

Five other Turkana residents escaped death narrowly when they took cover in a nearby bush.

"The men were busy fishing at the shores of the Lake when the attacker armed with AK-47 opened fire," said Eliud Among, a nurse at Todonyang Dispensary.