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SH50 MILLION

Arsonists torch 200 acres sugar cane in Transmara West

Ranch officials and farmers fear the sugar cane fire could ignite ethnic border clashes in Narok

In Summary

• Keyian Group Ranch farmers who own the farms said they lost more than Sh50 million covering 200 acres on Saturday night.

• Fears the fire could stoke border tensions, farmers say cane fields denied grazing land to pastoralists. 

Sugar cane goes up in smoke in Transmara West, Narok county, on Jue 27.
BURNT CANE: Sugar cane goes up in smoke in Transmara West, Narok county, on Jue 27.
Image: COURTESY

@magatinews

Police are hunting arsonists who torched 200 acres of mature sugar cane worth Sh50 million on Saturday night in Kilgoris, Transmara West, in Narok county.

Keiyan Group Ranch farm manager Davi Kuya described the fire as economic sabotage. The cane was ready to be harvested.

 

The farm is at the Kisii-Maasai border and it was feared the fire could stoke ethnic tensions.

"It is important that authorities address the fire issue urgently to avoid possible border conflicts,” group ranch chairman Phillip Saiyuah said. He described the losses as staggering.

The farmers said the fire might be revenge by people who had been denied grazing land.

Subcounty district commissioner Hassan Nur told the Star detectives are investigating. “We will get to the bottom of this,” he said.

Paramilitary units from the GSU were first responders but watched helplessly as the fields went up in smoke.

Kuya said the harvest of burnt cane is likely to yield not more than Sh4 million.

 

In 2013, a fire razed 85 acres of the sugar cane causing a loss of Sh13 million.

Keyian Group Ranch has also planted tea and sells fresh milk, sour milk and yoghurt.

(Edited by V. Graham)