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Kenya agree deal with protesters to
allow transportation of crude oil

LODWAR (Xinhua) -- Transportation of crude oil from Kenya’s Turkana County in northeast region to the coastal city of Mombasa will resume next week after protesting residents agreed to end the blockade, officials and leaders said on Friday.

Residents and their leaders made the decision to end protest against the truck ferrying the oil from Ngamia 8 after the government pledged to improve security in the county and borders.

Rift Valley Regional Coordinator Mongo Chimwaga and Petroleum Cabinet Secretary John Munyes brokered the deal after a lengthy deliberation with lawmakers and elders.

Chimwanga announced that the concerns raised by the community will be addressed with immediate effect to ensure Tullow Oil operations resume.

“We had healthy discussions with the stakeholders and the State has assured residents of security and issues raised will be worked on. Trucks transporting crude oil to Mombasa will resume next Wednesday,” the government official told Xinhua.

He said that combined teams of security personnel will now be deployed in the troubled areas to combat cases of banditry and cattle rustling.

“We issued express directive that police ruthlessly deal with bandits roaming the region and we will not tolerate political incitement among communities living in the region,” Chamwanga said.

Munyes who hails from the county assured that concerns raised by locals on oil will be taken into consideration.

“We have agreed to allow the movement of oil to resume after the State promised to act on the concern of the community,” Turkana South legislator James Lomenen told Xinhua.

Oil transportation from the area has been disrupted for one week after residents blocked trucks carrying the commodity to Mombasa demanding that the government provide them security and stop external intrusions.

The locals also demanded that the oil firm give them priority in tenders and employment. An official with who declined to be named said the firm is incurring 2.5 million U.S. dollars in loses every day as the truck remained blocked by the locals.

“The disruption is a big loss to us. Some of the machines and equipment we are using are hired and we are losing 2.5 million dollars daily since the oil movement was stopped by residents,” said the official.



Kenya beefs up security in oil fields amid protests

LODWAR (Xinhua) -- Kenyan authorities said Sunday security has been beefed up at oil fields in Turkana County, northwest region after protesting residents stormed the oil field and halt transportation of crude oil to Mombasa.

Turkan County Commissioner Seif Matata said tight security has been deployed at the Ngamia 8 oil site after protesters stormed and broke into the site which has storage tanks. 

“We have deployed a special security unit to man the oil fields and we are warning residents against interfering with the operation of Tullow Oil company,” Matata told Xinhua by phone.

The government administrator said a special security unit has been formed and deployed to guard the oil facilities.

Protestors stormed the site and blocked trucks ferrying crude oil to Mombasa until the government provide them security following attacks from armed bandits from neighboring community.

Kenyans had on June 4 welcomed the country’s start of oil exportation with cautious optimism with President Uhuru Kenyatta telling citizens not to allow the mineral to turn into a curse for the nation.

Kenyatta flagged off the transportation of 2,000 barrels of the first batch of crude oil from Ngamia 8 fields in Turkana for storage at the Kenya Petroleum Refinery in Mombasa.

Matata who confirmed the intrusion to the oil site said nothing was stolen. He assured residents that their demand is handled and will be solved amicably and urged the community to remain calm.

“The government has taken up all the concerns you have raised but there is no way we are going to allow such huge investment interrupted,” he warned when he addressed residents.

He said demands made by the community including employment will be addressed through negotiations with Tullow Oil, adding that residents would be given first priority. 

The official accused some top leaders in the county of fanning protests to blackmail the government.

“The government has have put in place adequate measures to tame cattle raids and the politicians should stop inciting residents to destabilize economic activities,” Matata said.  

The administrator said a special unit has also been formed to patrol the Lodwar-Kitale highway to make it secure to users.

“The government has deployed a unit to escort trucks and be warned that interfering with the transportation exercise will land you in trouble,” he said.

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