INVASIVE HERDERS

Mutha residents want camels driven out of their area

Somali herders have returned after being flashed out of South Kitui reserve months ago

In Summary

• Locals complain that the herders arbitrarily graze their camels in farms 

•MCA says the authorities inaction lead to suspicion of connivance with the invading camel herders

A herd of camels in the steets on Mwingi town in Kitui county.
DESTROYERS A herd of camels in the steets on Mwingi town in Kitui county.
Image: Musembi Nzengu

Residents of Mutha in Kitui South have called on the government to drive out Somali herders who have invaded the area and are grazing their cattle in people’s farms.

Conflicts between the locals and the pastoralist community have always ended in fatalities. Locals are thus urging the government to forestall such an eventuality.

Towards the end of last year, security forces mounted a month long security operation to flush out illegal settlers and camel herders from the South Kitui National Reserve. Kitui county commissioner John odengo said it was meant to end banditry and the fight between the Kambas and the herders, who were armed.

Mutha MCA Anthony John said despite the raiders being flashed out of their Manyattas and shanties flattened by bulldozers, they had regroup and started invading people’s farms around the reserve.

“Tension has gripped about 350 families who are constantly being provoked and harangued by the raiders, who have no respect for people farms and crops. Locals are currently preparing their farms for planting but their work is being dismantled by the invading camels,” John said on the phone.

He blamed the Mutomo sub-county security team for laxity is providing protection against the invaders.

“I have reason to think that the security apparatus are conniving with the aggressors to the disadvantage of the locals,” John claimed.

“We are demanding that the security team moves with speed and secures shambas belonging to the locals. Our people want the over 1,000 camels the Somali herders have brought with them driven away from our area,” the MCA added.

Community representative Musango Muthiani from Musenge area said locals had complained about the invasion by camels since the herders returned a couple of weeks ago but no efforts had been made to drive them out of the area.

“We want the highest office in the security hierarchy to come to our rescue because we are really suffering. With the camels around, we will not have the peace to prepare our shambas for the coming rains. Worse still, the camels are destroying the pigeon peas crop in our farms,” Muthiani lamented.

Mutomo deputy county commissioner Donald Enyakasi said he was not aware of the invasion by camel herders in Mutha.

He, however, noted that if such happens, the security team would swing into action immediately to avoid any breach of peace. “

l do not have any such information as at now,” he said on the phone.

He promised to verify the claims by the locals and get back to the Star, which he hadn’t by the time of going to press.

Residents of Mutha in Kitui South have called on the government to drive out Somali herders who have invaded the area and are grazing their cattle in people’s farms.

Conflicts between the locals and the pastoralist community have always ended in fatalities. Locals are thus urging the government to forestall such an eventuality.

Towards the end of last year, security forces mounted a month long security operation to flush out illegal settlers and camel herders from the South Kitui National Reserve. Kitui county commissioner John odengo said it was meant to end banditry and the fight between the Kambas and the Somali herders, who were armed.

Mutha MCA Anthony John said despite the raiders being flashed out of their Manyattas and shanties flattened by bulldozers, they had regroup and started invading people’s farms around the reserve.

“Tension has gripped about 350 families who are constantly being provoked and harangued by the raiders, who have no respect for people farms and crops. Locals are currently preparing their farms for planting but their work is being dismantled by the invading camels,” John said on the phone.

He blamed the Mutomo sub-county security team for laxity is providing protection against the invaders.

“I have reason to think that the security apparatus are conniving with the aggressors to the disadvantage of the locals,” John claimed.

“We are demanding that the security team moves with speed and secures shambas belonging to the locals. Our people want the over 1,000 camels the Somali herders have brought with them driven away from our area,” the MCA added.

Community representative Musango Muthiani from Musenge area said locals had complained about the invasion by camels since the herders returned a couple of weeks ago but no efforts had been made to drive them out of the area.

“We want the highest office in the security hierarchy to come to our rescue because we are really suffering. With the camels around, we will not have the peace to prepare our shambas for the coming rains. Worse still, the camels are destroying the pigeon peas crop in our farms,” Muthiani lamented.

Mutomo deputy county commissioner Donald Enyakasi said he was not aware of the invasion by camel herders in Mutha.

He, however, noted that if such happens, the security team would swing into action immediately to avoid any breach of peace. “

l do not have any such information as at now,” he said on the phone.

He promised to verify the claims by the locals and get back to the Star, which he hadn’t by the time of going to press.

Mutomo deputy county commissioner, Donald Enyakasi, in his office.
THE HEAD Mutomo deputy county commissioner, Donald Enyakasi, in his office.
Image: Musembi Nzengu