Ethiopian security officials have allegedly abducted two Kenyan civilians and stole two firearms from police reservists in northeast Kenya’s Marsabit County.
The incident reportedly happened on Saturday morning after an unknown number of Ethiopian police reservists attacked Bori, a village in Moyale near the Kenya-Ethiopia border.
Marsabit County Commissioner Moffat Kangi, who confirmed the attack, stressed that it was unprovoked.
“They are part of Ethiopian security agencies who manage all grassroots security issues,” Kangi said.
“We don’t know why they did it but we know there is a problem between the Oromo people and the Ethiopia government.”
“We are following up the matter through diplomatic channels,” he said. “We hope they will return the guns and release those abducted”.
Investigations are ongoing and Kenya has increased its border security while it awaits Ethiopia’s explanations for the incident.
“We are strengthening our border security as we wait for an explanation from the Ethiopia government,” Kangi added.
The border region, Kenya’s Marsabit County and Ethiopia’s Borana Zone of the Oromia Regional State, is conflicts prone. Recent cross-border conflicts between rival ethnic groups have left several people dead and forced many to flee their homes.
Kenyan authorities deployed army and police officers to Marsabit County in November after Ethiopian soldiers trespassed and killed three police officers.
Ethiopian soldiers were reportedly pursuing members of the outlawed Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) into the Kenya side of the border when the incident occurred.
The incident spurred Kenya and Ethiopia to sign a $200 million trade pact aimed at ensuring peace and increasing security along the border regions.
Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta were present at the signing of the deal in Moyale, northeast Kenya in December.
The United Nations (UN) supports the cross-border trade pact, which will be implemented by both Nairobi and Addis Ababa. The UN will fund the project.
The agreement aims to improve education, health, and create more job opportunities by diversifying the traditional sources of income. The project also seeks to reduce poverty, inequality and conflict by introducing peace building and conflict resolution management initiatives.
Photo: Nation Media Group