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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Security fears as Kenya transport begin Early Oil Pilot Scheme

LODWAR (Xinhua) -- Shortly after President Uhuru Kenyatta led the country to celebrate the feat of Kenya joining the league of global oil producers, concerns were raised on the safety of the oil fields in Turkana County and its transportation as the host community claims to be under siege.

In a historic occasion held at Ngamia 8 oil fields in Lokichar, Turkana, Kenyatta on June 4 flagged off four trucks ferrying crude oil to the Kenya Petroleum Refinery in Mombasa.

The crude oil ferried in an experimental program called Early Oil Pilot Scheme (EOPS) has since delivered the commodity to Mombasa as the country looks for overseas markets.

There are at least 10 oil fields located in various sections in Turkana East and Turkana South.

Tullow Oil Company targets to produce at least 2,000 barrels per day, but leaders from the host community, now wants president to fix insecurity problem before full exploration.

"The emerging internal and external security threats are a big challenge that the president must fix before oil drilling activities is enhanced," said Turkana North lawmaker Christopher Nakuleu on Tuesday.

Citing a recent incident in Lokoli where three people including a Kenya police reservist were killed by bandits from neighboring Baringo County, the leaders noted that highway bandit, cattle rustling and boundary feuds could disrupt oil exploitation.

"Our community is facing a lot of hostility from neighboring communities from South Sudan and Ethiopia because of the discovery of the oil. Lodwar-Kitale road has not been secured from bandits," said Nakuleu.

He argued that the claims by Pokot community that its boundary stretches to Kalimongorok not far from the oil fields should not be taken lightly.

"The boundary feud pitting our community and its neighbors has to be fixed to create confidence among investors and to avoid communal conflicts which could hamper the oil business," said the lawmaker.

The lawmakers said despite Kenyatta warning against banditry activities in the region, the recent killing of three people is worrying the locals.

"It is like the president’s directive has been ignored and this is worrying our community. Peace will prevail when illegal guns are retrieved from the civilian," Nakuleu remarked.

Aware of the protracted disagreement on how the proceeds should be distributed, Kenyatta warned of the curses that might come with the resource, but also promised that all concerns raised by local residents will be addressed.

"The economies of countries that have failed to manage their resources have also suffered the ripple effect of hungry and poor citizen. It is my hope and prayer that together we shall work so that such is not visited upon us," said Kenyatta.

Without mentioning names, Kenyatta said two countries have experienced the painful side of the mineral resource, saying the country would do everything possible to avoid similar situations.
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SEE ALSO:

Kenyans welcome planned oil exportation with cautious optimism

           

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