Herders, farmers along Isiolo-Meru border urged to show mutual respect

Peace and security players hold meeting to avert conflicts that have been on the rise in four subcounties.

In Summary
  • The re-emergence of insecurity concerns has led to conflict between camel herders and farm owners in the recent past.
  • The conflict has left several people dead in the past few months.
Security officials display weapons recovered in an operation in Marsabit
Security officials display weapons recovered in an operation in Marsabit
Image: FILE

Four subcounties have embarked on early warning and early response measures along the Isiolo-Meru border.

They are Isiolo, Buuri East, Tigania East and Tigania West. 

The ongoing drought has pushed camel herders, especially those from Isiolo, into the traditionally crop farming areas.

This has led to clashes between the herders and farmers that have left several people dead in the past few months.

Peace and security players from the four subcounties held a meeting in Maili Tatu area.

Tigania East subcounty police commander Victor Karanja said the meeting was aimed at gathering intelligence on the state of peace and security on the Isiolo-Meru borderline.

He said peace players came up with resolutions to help stop the re-emergence of insecurity. 

“Chiefs will now be required to have a list of names of all camel owners and herders before they start grazing in a particular area to prevent incidences of livestock and produce theft,” Karanja said.

"We have also had incidences of vandalism of water pipes by herders. We want them to know that it is prudent to respect people’s property.”

The meeting, whose aim was to enhance peace initiatives, involved elders, law enforcement officers, chiefs and peace and security committee members from the four subcounties.

Tigania West subcounty Kandebene area manager Charity Loina accused some of the herders of raping and killing residents.

“The ongoing conflict has affected the peace process as many people are still waiting for an opportunity to revenge leading to a cycle of violence,” Loina said.

She said the situation is complicated by underage illiterate boys armed with illegal firearms.

“This meeting has also enabled us to track the age group of these herders. This is to ensure they are not under the age of 18,” she said.

Loina blamed the farmers for attacking animals instead of reporting destruction of farm produce to the police.

“During the drought seasons, herders bring their herds of camels to graze without asking who owns the area. The farmers then kill the animals on their farms and armed herders consequently strike back by attacking the farmers,” she said.

Isiolo peace link executive director Abdia Mohamud urged the participants to spread peace messages in the villages.

“I urge the residents to utilise services at the Isiolo Joint Command centre. It was set up during the election period and is still available for early warning and response to allow security personnel to respond to incidences before they escalate,” she said.

Isiolo deputy county commissioner Kepha Marube called for tolerance and mutual understanding.

“The residents need to co-exist peacefully so that they can share the available resources and benefit from them without unnecessary conflicts,” he said.

-Edited by SKanyara

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