In the Greater Karamoja Cluster; new pathways to peace

In the Greater Karamoja Cluster; new pathways to peace

15/05/2020

Loyaa Village sits on a sandy plain at the edge of rain-starved Turkana County, in northeastern Kenya—part of the Greater Karamoja Cluster, which also includes the borders of Uganda, South Sudan, and Ethiopia. It is the last village before the neighboring Kenyan West Pokot County, and was once a frequent target for cattle raids.

For Esekon Epyo, now a 45-year-old grandmother, one attack on Loya Village remains particularly vidid. Back in 1998, a group of Pokot cattle rustlers, creeping unseen through the bush, charged the small community just before dusk. “Bullets, bullets everywhere,” Epyo recalls. Her husband was slain in the ambush.

Reprisals followed, and fear kept communities on both sides of the border in a years-long chokehold.

Slowly, community leaders throughout the Greater Karamoja Cluster paved the way for peace dialogues. A set of FAO-facilitated interventions, carried out over the course of a decade, built upon these community-level initiatives in partnership with the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), culminating in the signing of a multilateral Memorandum of Understanding on cross-border animal health between Kenyan, Ugandan, Ethiopian, and South Sudanese national governments.