Toposa, Turkana clash over Nadapal border

Fighting erupted on Monday between the Toposa of South Sudan and Turkana of Kenya in Eastern Equatoria State over the common border between the two countries.

Fighting erupted on Monday between the Toposa of South Sudan and Turkana of Kenya in Eastern Equatoria State over the common border between the two countries.

The clashes occurred after the Turkana community allegedly attacked the Toposa in Nadapal and claimed that Toposa pastoralists encroached into their territory.

Last week, hundreds of Kapoeta East County residents peacefully demonstrated after Kenya deployed soldiers on South Sudanese territory claiming that the border between the two countries is in the Nakodok area of Kapoeta East County. The protestors were later supported by some state parliamentarians who said that the national government’s silence on the matter implied that South Sudanese territory had been ceded and or sold to Kenya.

Paul Napwon Yunai, the chairperson of the Toposa Community told Radio Tamazuj Monday afternoon that the clashes between Toposa and Turkana communities were ongoing along River Nadapal.

“Yesterday when the Toposa wanted to go and water their animals, I think the Turkana attacked them and this morning the Toposa also went there and also ambushed them and that is where they collided and currently the report on the ground is that they are fighting. We are still monitoring what is going on on the ground,” he explained. “The forces of the Turkana are now pushing the Toposa out of River Nadapal and they have even approached the South Sudan immigration offices so right now people are fighting. We are calling on the Government of South Sudan to intervene.”

Napwon accused Kenyan authorities of instigating conflict among bordering communities and urged them to respect the original border point.

“Last week, a senior Kenyan minister and the governor of Turkana came to Nadapal and held a meeting with the people of Turkana and I think they gave a kind of hate speech instead of talking about issues of peace between the Toposa and the Turkana, development, and sharing resources like grass water,” he said. “They (Kenyan officials) concentrated on the issue of the border even to the extent that they said Nakodo is the border yet it is just 5 Kilometres from Narus.”

Meanwhile, Abdalla Angelo, the commissioner of Kapoeta East County, confirmed the clashes and said a customs officer from South Sudan has been injured.

“There is tension in Nadapal and the reason is that the day before yesterday, Turkana took the cattle of Toposa and this morning they came back with cattle and were attacked by the Toposa,” he said. “This is a provocation because they brought cattle here knowing that they took Toposa yesterday and that is why the Toposa attacked them. The Turkana attacked our customs office and injured one officer and now the Toposa are heading there to fight.”

“I have communicated with the area SSPDF commander to gather his forces to go and help civilians,” he added.

Commissioner Angelo said the border should be demarcated to stop the conflict.

“The biggest issue is that Kenya has declared Nadapal their territory,” he said.

Radio Tamazuj could not reach Kenyan authorities for comment.