Kenyan soldiers kill two herders in Kapoeta East

A fighting between Toposa herders in Kapoeta East and the neighboring Kenyan army-backed Turkana tribesmen left two people dead and two others injured at the weekend, an official has confirmed.

The clash happened in Mogela Mountain near Nadapal border of Kapoeta East County, Eastern Equatoria on Saturday at 3:00 PM.

Due to heavy rain, the county commissioner says cattle herders from Toposa moved their cattle to Mogela Mountain where the Turkana herders were grazing their animals.

While there, Abdalla Lokeno explained that the Toposa and Turkana clashed over ownership of the grazing land.

“Later around 3:00pm Kenya sent three vehicles full of KPR [Kenya Police Reserve) forces through Mogela east where most of Toposa cattles keepers were settling with their cattle. They raided unknown number of goats, donkeys, cows, and many things from the kraal. They kill two people and injured two from Toposa,” Lokeno told Singaita FM.

The victims of the attack by Kenyan soldiers are yet to be named.

He says the Mogela Mountain, which is claimed by the Kenyan authority geographically, belongs to South Sudan.

“They say all the parts of Mogela belong to them in Kenya…and Toposa should not graze there,” the commissioner added.

In February 2023, President Salva Kiir asked the Kapoeta East County community to leave the border issue to his government and that of Kenya to address it diplomatically.

This came after three Kenyan military pickups reportedly entered the country through the Nakodo border without any authorization, triggering peaceful protests by the Toposa community there.

Effort to reach the government of Kenya for comment was unsuccessful.

Kapoeta East falls under the Ilemi Triangle – a disputed territory, which is claimed by South Sudan, Kenya and Ethiopia. Following numerous efforts to demarcate the area over the last 100 years, Ethiopia, Kenya and Sudan have all made conflicting de jure and de facto claims.

In 2009, Juba and Nairobi inked a Memorandum of Understanding to allow Kenya to temporarily set up a control border post near Nadapal but the deal did not include any action on the disputed border.

Named after Anuak chief Ilemi Akwon and measuring about 11,000 square kilometers, Illemi Triangle is a mineral rich area.