This article questions whether enmity is always bad and trust always good. In the borderlands between Ikland in northern Uganda and Turkanaland in Kenya, sometimes violent enmity combines with friendly barter relations between the Ik, a subsistence agricultural people that also hunts, and their goat-and-cattle herding neighbors, the Turkana and Dodoth peoples. “Half-trust,” as some of the Ik call it, works to prevent the escalation of conflict. While the Ugandan groups have been disarmed by their government, the Kenyan Turkana, armed with AK-47s, are allowed into Ugandan territory for pasture during drought, and some Turkana take violent advantage of this power imbalance as they leave. Paradoxically, intervention by Ugandan state institutions that, in the name of peaceful coexistence, welcome the Turkana in Uganda has led to the escalation of conflict, while tribal “half-trust” has kept it relatively limited.

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