- The prolonged dry season is pushing camel herders from Tana River into Kitui county.
- Government has mooted plans to dig a cutline between Tana River and Kitui counties to reduce conflicts and insecurity.
The dry season is pushing camel herders from Tana River into Kitui county in search of water and pasture, fuelling fears of possible conflict over the scarce natural resources.
Confirming the intrusion along Mutha area in Kitui East constituency on Sunday, Kitui county commissioner John Ondego said police were on high alert to drive the camel herders back to their respective homes to avert clashes.
“I am in constant communication with my counterpart in Tana River to constitute a team that will hold meetings with the herders to stick to their borders despite the harsh weather conditions that may tempt them to cross over to Kitui in search of pasture and water for their camels,” Ondego said.
The administrator said the government cannot sit back in the face of any intrusion that could destabilise the peace the locals were enjoying in the area.
“I appeal to wananchi to remain calm as government agencies swing into action to ensure safe passage of any camels within our border back to Tana River county,” Ondego said.
He reiterated the government's resolve to maintain peaceful coexistence amongst communities along the border of Kitui and Tana River counties.
“We will continue with flushing out herders who are grazing their camels inside Kitui South Game Reserve. This will help stop their influx and associated conflicts in Mutha,” Ondego said.
The government has mooted plans to dig a cutline between Tana River and Kitui counties to reduce conflicts and insecurity.
Governor Charity Ngilu said in a bid to curb insecurity along the border, her administration would collaborate with the national government and Tana River county to ensure a cutline is done running from Kandolongwe to Kaningo.
“Interior CS Fred Matiang'i has assured us that the government will establish a permanent General Service Unit contingent to patrol the troubled border,” the governor said.
Ngilu said the GSU contingent would be mandated to mop up illegal guns and restore security in the affected wards such as Ngomeni, Tseikuru, Nguni, Nuu, Endau-Malalani, Voo/Kyamatu and Mutha.
According to a report tabled in the Kitui county assembly in 2015 by Mwove Kinyala, the chairperson of the committee on administration and coordination of county affairs, illegal herders from neighbouring Tana River and Garissa counties have consistently been invading Kitui since the 1960s.
Kinyala said bandits commonly known as shiftas as from the year 2000 to around 2008 started camouflaging themselves as herders and have since illegally settled in some areas such as Mwanzele and Mutha.
“The illegal settlement of these shiftas has resulted in the damage and irrecoverable losses to area residents, repeated loss of lives, endless trauma and constant displacement of people,” he said.
Kinyala said that the government abolished the illegal livestock markets within the boundary areas of Mwanzele and Yuku, adding that livestock traders from outside the county should use vehicles to ferry their animals to markets within Kitui.
Edited by Henry Makori