Turkana leaders skip joint peace meeting in West Pokot

West Pokot Governor John Lonyangapuo
West Pokot Governor John Lonyangapuo

Turkana leaders skipped a joint peace meeting held at Sarimach in West Pokot County with their Pokot counterparts to witness the return of 5 cows that were stolen from the area by suspected bandits from the neighbouring Turkana County.

This comes after leaders from the two communities on Tuesday last week at Kainuk in Turkana County resolved to end the new wave of cattle theft and killings that have claimed six people in the last two months. A total of 52 goats which were stolen from Kainuk by suspected thieves from Sarimach in West Pokot were recovered and 39 among 105 stolen from Kaakong were returned to the owners.

The latest killings included two senior County officials from Turkana who were shot dead in a retaliatory attack while on their way to Nakwamoru from Kapelbok along the border of the two Counties.

Speaking in the meeting, West Pokot Governor John Lonyangapuo urged residents from the two communities to embrace the act of returning stolen animals to the owners in case of a cattle raid.

He lamented the fact that Turkana elders failed to show up for the meeting, “We were expecting our counterparts from Turkana,” he said, “We are happy they have returned the animals.”

West Pokot County commissioner Apollo Okello said they should continue engaging with the leaders from the neighbouring County after the animals were returned, adding that they aren’t happy with the practice of changing stolen animals, prior to returning. He also said peace committees will engage in joint meetings along the border of the two Counties, “We are starting peace meetings to sustain peace in the area,” he said.