Members of the Turkana community and their counterparts from Nyangatom of Ethiopia, who have been at loggerheads over the past few days over the loss of guns on either side, have resolved to make peace.
The animosity between the two communities started after a gun belonging to a Kenyan National Police Reservist (NPR) was stolen, just days after a gun belonging to a herder from Nyangatom went missing in a grazing field.
However, on Friday, police officers from Kenya and Ethiopia met residents living along the border at Nangulungatuny (on the Kenyan side) where they rallied the people to embrace peace.
Members of the two communities responded by vowing to live in peace and work together to stop anyone threatening the peace they have been enjoying.
In 2009, more than 40 people were shot dead in an attack along the Kenya-Ethiopia border. The two communities made peace after the massacre in Todonyang.
During Friday’s meeting at Nangulungatuny, members of the Nyangatom community returned the gun belonging to NPR officer. At the same time, members of the Turkana community living in Kibish were given 14 days to recover the gun belonging to the herder from the Nyangatom community in the ongoing efforts to ease tension at the border.
Kibish sub-county police commander Charles Wafula said they are engaging in dialogue to promote peace in the area.
"One of the Kenyan herders is suspected to have stolen a firearm from the Ethiopian, sparking tension. Herders from the Nyangatom community stole a NPR gun in revenge. Through dialogue, we have recovered the NPR firearm," Wafula told The Standard.
The police boss said community elders will work with authorities in tracing the missing gun. He said the firearm will be handed to the Ethiopian community as soon as it is recovered.
"The communities at the border have been living in peace for many years and we will not allow a few individuals to take us back to the dark days," he said.
Mr Charles Ekeno, from the Turkana community, said they will not allow actions such as the theft of guns to cause animosity between them and their neighbours.
He said the two communities learned the importance of peace following the killing of 40 people some years back. “Trade has been thriving along the once-volatile border and we want this to continue. We are guarding the peace we are currently enjoying jealousy. No one will be allowed to cause tensions among local communities," he said.
Turkana Governor Jeremiah Lomorukai said that the border area continues to enjoy peace despite the gun theft incidents.
Lomorukai said the Nyangatom is among communities that have been invited to the Turkana Cultural Festival that will start on October 12, an invite he said would contribute to strengthening peace.
"Business is booming along the border and herders are grazing freely. There are many Turkana herders grazing on the Ethiopian side of the border.
He added: "There are also several Ethiopian herders grazing in Kenya because of peace accords. We will be celebrating the peace during our cultural festival."
Wafula has urged residents both from Kenya and Ethiopia to work with security officers in addressing their grievances instead of taking the law into their own hands.