The Forum

THE ILEMI TRIANGLE – A BEACON OF PEACE TURNED INTO CAUSE OF CONFLICT

By Kablit Kiu Sam- Youth Agenda Kenya,

Turkana my county, my pride, Ilemi Triangle our beacon of peace, to all our neighboring countries; Ethiopia and the youngest Nation South Sudan, the Ilemi Triangle make us share a boarder point.

The Ilemi Triangle marks the NO MAN’S LAND that separates the three countries; it is here where 3 beacons have been put clearly indicating where we meet each other, that is Kenya, South Sudan and Ethiopia.

There have been conflicts overtime concerning the Ilemi Triangle. Bordering communities fighting over grazing land, crossing boarders to look for pasture and water, others cross to steal cattle from the neighboring communities. All these have always resulted to fights between these communities; Turkana of Kenya, Merille of Ethiopia and Toposa of South Sudan. Though all these tribes originated from same ancestor, peace has always been a stranger to them.

The youngest nation; South Sudan wrote to the United Nations (UN) Security Council seeking interventions to reclaim some parts of Ilemi TRIANGLE that to extends into the Kenyan territory. Although South Sudan has denied this report claiming that it was malicious accusation, there is a possibility that the recent discovery of Oil in Turkana County has triggered South Sudan’s intent to disrupt peace in Ilemi triangle. South Sudan fears that if Oil exploration goes on, then they will stand to loose more Oil from the wells in Turkana which are on the Lower side of the oil-table than the wells in South Sudan (so a lot of oil will drain, underground, to the wells in Turkana). They have therefore planned to create a conflict situation as a way for they (South Sudan) to buy time to explore and drill more Oil on their side before Kenya drills theirs at Ngamia 1 and the various Blocks. The conflict situation will see to it that Kenya doesn’t start drilling since they will be engaged in resolving this conflict first.

There is actually a conspiracy to deny us the peace to drill our long awaited blessing. They say Oil is the root of Blessings and Curses alike. Is the latter what awaits us? We all know that Nigeria has hardly enjoyed reaping from Oil at the Niger Delta due to aggressions from Rebel groups.

Does South Sudan know that it is Kenya that stood with them, when they were fighting with North Sudan for independence? Does South Sudan know that it is Kenya that has been so generous to host their thousands of fleeing and traumatized Refugees from South Sudan? Do they really know the sacrifice that Turkana County has offered to provide these refugees a peaceful stay at United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ (UNHCR) Kakuma Refugee Camp for decades, made it possible for the South Sudanese children to attend school with Kenyans, share classrooms, health facilities, roads, play grounds among other many great hospitality that Turkana County has persistently shown. I remember Sudan Peace talks have always been spearheaded by the generous Kenyan Government, the South Sudan constitution was drafted with the help of learned Kenyan Lawyers.

I think South Sudan should reciprocate in kind. We do not want any favors, and we love peace and we will always want to stay with in peace with our neighbors.  Why would South Sudan do this to Kenyans, making allegations and claims about ownership of Elim Triangle, and more so being ungrateful to the generous and peace-loving hosts-the Turkana people?

Let us maintain what as always been our norm of interaction: friendship, socioeconomically support and politically counseling. If we maintain this we shall see our regions developing and reaching new high places. And we should bear in mind the fact that the immediate neighboring communities from South Sudan side are the Toposa our brethren. This conflict is completely unnecessary.

I wish to see a stronger peaceful relationship between Kenya and South Sudan in generations to come that shall make it possible for both countries to coexist and nurture a mutual and beneficial relationship, economically and socially. I am convinced beyond doubt that we really need each other more than before. Let’s maintain Peaceful relationship, let’s be grateful for one another and our region shall prosper.

God Bless Us

6 thoughts on “THE ILEMI TRIANGLE – A BEACON OF PEACE TURNED INTO CAUSE OF CONFLICT

  1. which Sudanese ethnic community claims Ilemi Triangle? The limits of South Sudan should be the limits of its ethnic community lands. Ilemi Triangle is Turkan

  2. Ilemi belong to south sudan kenya was only to protect the turkana but how many ethnic groups are in ilemi triangle? Kenya killed many nyangatoms and toposa in atriangle since sudan arabs give it permission to kill south sudaese people.from today onward the world will the reason kenya bombed nyangatom and toposa in 1988 in kibish. We know that there was secret agreement sudan and kenya to kill southerners in ilemi triangle. the next tribe who was bombed was merile. Please kenyans respect the maud lines b/c what is ilemi triangl you didnot know b/c it belong to south sudan.what is the meaning of ilemi?

  3. I like your argument; we should pursue legal channels. Every story is narrated through a certain lens, as someone said no story is neutral. one of the cornerstone signs of a successful dialogue is sincerest; when individuals do not fear anything but are truly vocal about their concerns, be it biased or not. For there’s no way a solution can be reached if people hide their concerns or assumptions. You will agree with me that even in legal matters, contestants usually prefer portraying a saintly picture of themselves to portraying their true pictures; that’s why most of these legal channels are tedious and oftentimes, only the craft (one who can portray a better pic) wins. Though, legal channels have less harm compared to others (like violence), but they are overrated in terms of their capacity to iron out most of our social discrepancies. SO the fundamental thing for any writer, is to be the voice of their own “truth.” You can also be the voice of your own “truth.” This is how, correct me if I’m wrong, a healthy and promising dialogue is born. And why should we always run to courts ICC etc when we have issues amongst ourselves? maybe it’s time we learn to speak and solve our own issues coz we are the ones affected and feel the pain of our differences; unlike the spectator who just comes to pass judgement (god knows in whose favor)….

  4. you guys(writers) need to be fundamentally responsible to avoid adding up apples and oranges already about this matter. Claiming that s.sudan shouldnt lodge any complaint of claim to illemi (as allegedly reported) because kenya hosted and still does thousands of southerners as well as helping during peace process just dont add up,do they? if you think so,then that would be unfortunate and naive.if the land in question belongs to kenya,then put s.s gov’t to shame legally so the whole thing is put to bed period and the rest is just blah blah blah.

    • This is interesting. I’m not sure cluturally how to respond to this? My first instinct is to pray with them and to give them food. Just in thinking back to the situation that was the problem. Not enough money for food. They didn’t mention not having enough money for other items? What is their culture like? How would their culture play into the answer? I look forward to seeing your response.

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