News24

Ethiopia, Kenya boost border security

2011-06-02 21:04

Addis Ababa - Ethiopia and Kenya agreed on Thursday to strengthen security along their common border after dozens of people were killed in cross-border raids last month.

Clashes between Kenyans living in the remote, arid northern region that borders Ethiopia and raiders from the neighbouring Dassenech group killed at least 19 people in May, according to Kenyan officials.

Cattle rustling and clashes over grazing land and access to water are relatively common in the region, though the extent of the casualties last month has concerned local officials.

A Kenyan delegation led by acting Foreign Affairs Minister George Saitoti is in Addis Ababa to attend a meeting of a joint-ministerial commission for talks on political, economic and security co-operation.

"The meeting made commitment for the enhancement of security along common borders by addressing the challenges created by anti-peace elements, competition for scarce resources and the proliferation of small arms," a statement said.

Ethiopian Foreign Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said there should be more focus on development projects in the area.

"We have to address the root cause of tension and not just peace-building," he told Reuters upon completion of the meeting.

"There has been a committee in place for the last ten years. The structure is there, but what we lack is delivering on the ground, to develop the area for the pastoralists."