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State moves to secure oil field stormed by angry protesters

By Bakari Angela | July 2nd 2018
Tankers that transported crude oil from Turkana County at the Mombasa Oil Refinery in Changamwe on June 6, 2018. [Courtesy]

Security has been reinforced at Ngamia 8 oil well that was stormed by protesters last week.

Turkana County Commissioner Seif Matata said the area has been secured following a rampage that saw protestors break into the site over the weekend.

Last week, angry residents blocked trucks transporting crude oil to Mombasa from Lokichar along the Lokichar-Kitale highway protesting against insecurity.

The residents also demanded for more job opportunities and tenders.

The protests are likely to hurt oil exploration activities in the region and jeopardise Kenya’s entry in the oil market.

Mr Matata said nothing was destroyed during the protest

He said security has been intensified in the region and at oil site and called for calm.

Matata criticised the residents for storming the oil drilling site saying it was not the right step and that past demands by had been resolved amicably. 

He said the demand that the oil firm gives hiring priority to locals had been resolved in the past through negotiations.

The commissioner said protests against insecurity were an attempt to blackmail the government.

“Incidents of raids have drastically reduced and whenever they occur, police have always endeavoured to recover all stolen livestock stolen,” he said.

 “In Kapedo, where residents have always raised concerns about insecurity, we have stationed the General Service Unit and a Rapid Deployment Unit to ensure bandits do not infiltrate the area,” he said.

Matata further said GSU officers had intensified security patrols to tackle highway banditry along Kapedo-Chemolingot highway.

“We assure all the people that Turkana is secure and when the Tullow Oil Company is ready to resume transportation of oil after their own assessment, we are ready to escort this out of Turkana to Mombasa and nobody can stop it,” Mr Matata said.

Local leaders, among them Turkana South MP James Lomenen and his Turkana East counterpart Mohammed Lokiru said banditry remained a threat in the area.

The MPs want Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government CS Fred Matiang’i to address the concerns raised by residents.

“We are telling the Interior Cabinet Secretary that the oil is safe but the people of Turkana are not,” said Lomenen.

Turkana Senator Malachy Ekal also said the government should address the grievances raised by protesting residents

“It is a high time the government came to the ground and listened to the views of people. Insecurity has been a problem in Turkana for many years.

Cabinet Secretary (CS) for Petroleum and Mining John Munyes, who was attending a burial at Kakuma in Turkana on Saturday, was heckled by residents when he called on them to stop blocking trucks transporting the oil to Mombasa.

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