Ateker leaders from Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan, and Ethiopia, who speak a common dialect, have pledged to advocate for peaceful coexistence among pastoralist communities sharing common borders.
The leaders, who met during a cultural event organised by Nyagatom in Ethiopia's Omo zone, agreed to promote peaceful coexistence among communities in order to ensure resource sharing across common borders.
The Ateker people share a common cultural background and heritage, but they have been at odds for decades over scarce water and pasture in their jurisdiction.
Turkana Governor Jeremiah Lomorukai, who led a Kenyan delegation to Ethiopia's Kangaten Ward, challenged the Ateker communities spread across the East African region to abandon the retrogressive culture of cattle rustling and instead coexist for prosperity and development.
He delivered his speech in Kangaten on the first day of the South Omo Zone Nyangatom Peace and Cultural Festival in Nyang'aten.
The governor asked the communities to stop fighting over disputed 'cows,' which had cost them lives and property for decades.
"As peace keepers will take the lead in facilitating the agenda of peace and coexistence among the Ateker communities, why would a community with common ancestors and a similar language fight over a cow?" he asked.
The county chief said they will pursue peacebuilding and conflict resolution as the only way for communities to prosper and develop, which has been hampered by perennial conflicts.