Kiir’s message to the provoked Kapoeta East community

President Salva Kiir has asked the Kapoeta East County community to leave the Illemi Triangle issue to his government and that of Kenya to address it diplomatically, says the Eastern Equatoria State governor.

On 31 January 2023, three Kenyan military pickups reportedly entered the country through the Nakodo border without any authorization, triggering peaceful protest by the Toposa community there.

Six days later, fighting erupted between the Toposa of South Sudan and Turkana of Kenya over the common border between the two countries.

The clashes, whose casualties were not reported, took place after the Turkana community allegedly attacked the Toposa in Nadapal, claiming that Toposa pastoralists encroached into their territory.

Since then, officials say tensions have tightened over the matter.

“The big man [Kiir] says the issue of the borders will be settled this year so that we really know the exact boundaries between those people and us,” Louis Lobong told a gathering at Nadapal on Sunday.

He revealed that the president has set up a committee on international borders and will start working soon to find the original borders.

“Our boss asked me to tell you to never touch that government( Kenyan), for he knows what he is going to do. They have laws and steps to follow,” Lobong added.

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.

Parts of 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 South Sudan have all made conflicting de jure and de facto claims.