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Cablegate: Kenya Moyale District Commissioner On the Oromo

VZCZCXRO0468
RR RUEHROV
DE RUEHNR #4313 2780829
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 050829Z OCT 06
FM AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4700
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS NAIROBI 004313

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PINR PREL PGOV ET KE
SUBJECT: KENYA MOYALE DISTRICT COMMISSIONER ON THE OROMO
LIBERATION FRONT AND ETHIOPIAN MILITARY


1. (SBU) Summary: The District Commissioner of Moyale, on
Kenya's border with Ethiopia, admits that the Oromo
Liberation Front (OLF) uses his district as a sanctuary,
despite his best efforts. He expresses annoyance with the
"hostile" attitude of his Ethiopian counterparts and with the
Ethiopian military's habit of ignoring the border when in hot
pursuit of OLF fighters without even bothering to notify
Kenyan officials. He also hinted at exasperation with the
lack of attention and resources he receives from Kenya's
central government to cope with his district's security
issues and infrastructure needs. End Summary.

2. (SBU) Vincent Okioma, District Commissioner for the Moyale
District of Kenya's Eastern Province, spoke with PolCouns
about the activities of OLF fighters and Ethiopian military
in his region. Okioma frankly admitted that "Moyale district
is a sanctuary for OLF fighters." He stressed that the
Government of Kenya does not support the OLF, but noted that
many OLF fighters have relatives among the Moyale District's
Borana community. "When they visit their relations we cannot
tell them apart from the local population." (Note: Kenya's
Borana community is for all practical purposes identical to
Ethiopia's Oromo community. End Note.) Okioma insisted that
"when we are able to identify OLF fighters, we arrest them."
He noted that when his administration moves against OLF
elements, Borana politicians and community leaders "accuse us
of political persecution." (Note: The Borana community in
Moyale District elected the KANU candidate in the July
by-election, rejecting the pro-government NARC-Kenya
candidate. End Note.)

3. (SBU) Okioma claimed that the Ethiopian military "ignores
the border when in hot pursuit of OLF fighters. They do not
even bother telling us they are coming over the border."
Okioma went on to say that "our problems with the Ethiopians
are at the level of the regional government. The national
government says all the right things, but the regional
government administration is hostile and aggressive toward
us. They falsely accuse us of supporting the OLF." Okioma
alleged that some former OLF fighters engage in banditry on
the Kenyan side of the border for personal gain, while
current fighters do the same to raise funds for their cause.

4. (SBU) Comment: The northern half of Kenya is sparsely
populated and very lightly administered. It receives scant
resources and attention from Kenya's central government.
Northern Kenyans often say that "Kenya begins at Isiolo," a
reference to a town 350 miles to the south. Moyale is
connected to Isiolo by a mere dirt track. Ethiopian Moyale
is connected to Addis Ababa by a very serviceable tarred
road. Okioma is clearly annoyed with the unfriendly
treatment he receives from his Ethiopian counterparts, but he
also hinted at exasperation with the lack of attention and
resources he receives from the central government to cope
with his district's security issues and infrastructure needs.
RANNEBERGER

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