• The livestock were stolen from Loibara Ole Mosiany’s Manyatta in Tiamamut village.
• They were handed back to their owners after successful talks between the Maasai and Samburu communities.
Forty seven of the 87 animals stolen along the border of Isiolo and Laikipia have been traced to Learata in Wamba, Samburu county.
The livestock were stolen from Loibara Ole Mosiany’s Manyatta in Tiamamut village. They were handed back to their owners after successful talks between the Maasai and Samburu communities.
The armed raiders descended on Ole Mosiany’s Manyatta on the night of July 25 and led with 83 head of cattle and four donkeys. A joint search by the police and rangers from Naibung’a community conservancy only recovered 13 cows and four donkeys two days later.
After a long wait, elders from Learata in Samburu and Maasai elders from Tiamamut village in Laikipia initiated talks aimed at identifying where the animals were hidden. They also banked on the support of the Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT), an organisation that supports community conservancies in the region.
Through the initiative, 47 more animals were recovered, 14 identified through branding and ear tags. The rest were compensation from morans. The talks and search operation began on August 8.
Ndiba Lenanyankera, an elder from Learata, rooted for dialogue as opposed to the use of force to solve such problems.
“Violence has always proved futile,” he said.
He spoke in Tiamamut where he handed back the recovered livestock to their owners.
“When I heard of the news that animals had been stolen from Laikipia and their footprints were leading to Learata, I immediately joined the search team and helped convene a series of meetings that made the recovery a success,” he said.
Lenanyankera said the use of firearms or force to recover stolen livestock only strengthens criminals’ resolve to get rid of the animals as fast as possible for fear that they may land in jail if caught.
“Dialogue on the other hand reassures them that they could return the animals to their rightful owner with only fines in terms of additional animals in line with their tradition to contend with,” he said.
According to Samburu community customs, one stolen cow needs to be compensated with three others, hence the victim of cattle rustling still owes the Learata community more animals.
Upon receiving the recovered animals, Loibara Ole Mosiany, the owner of the stolen animals, lauded the effort by the two sets of elders and expressed optimism that even the remaining 23 cows will still be recovered and brought back to him.
He thanked the NRT for bringing together elders from the two locations, providing meals and accommodation during talks and providing vehicles to ease their movement across the vast area in search of the animals.
NRT peace coordinator Josephine Ekiru said the organisation will continue to engage the two sets of elders so the search for the remaining 23 cows is intensified. She noted that dialogue had proved efficient on numerous occasions where members of pastoralist communities commit atrocities against each other, as opposed to use of force that bears little or no fruit.
Ekiru called for the involvement of young people in peace building initiatives, adding that they are the people who are actively engaged in raids and some of them end up losing their lives.