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KDF deployed to Laikipia after Mukutan Retreat raid, UK citizens warned

An invader on Suyian ranch in Laikipia county wearing a t-shirt with the name of Laikipia North MP Matthew Lempurkel, January 30, 2017. /COURTESY
An invader on Suyian ranch in Laikipia county wearing a t-shirt with the name of Laikipia North MP Matthew Lempurkel, January 30, 2017. /COURTESY

KDF soldiers were deployed to

Laikipia Nature Conservancy after

Pokot bandits raided Mukutan Retreat, burned property and left several wounded.

The Wednesday night attack was revenge for operations on LNC which allegedly involved police officers shooting of invaders' cattle - a charge

but confirmed by witnesses.

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The troops were sent there following the latest invasion on luxury lodges in

the drought-stricken area, in what residents feared would escalate into a night of violence.

"The KDF are ultra efficient by comparison, well commanded, disciplined and brave," a resident said.

But the source added that the soldiers were placed under the

county commander whom he termed incompetent.

"Sadly they have been placed under the commander who has stymied their work in order to hide his incompetence and that of police officers incapable of doing their jobs due to fear and poor training and back up," the witness said.

The resident told the Star that police were asked not to kill cattle but defied the order because they are "too scared to take on militias".

"They were implored to protect property and lives on invaded farms but they didn't," he said.

"This is all the fault of the Laikipia county commander who has run a shambolic operation almost designed to fail."

Landowners in Laikipia have been repeatedly left alone to face the anger of raiders as police officers move on after allegedly shooting cattle belonging to invaders.

The ranchers have nothing to do with this strategy because they know it inflames more violence.

The UK has advised its citizens to

in the county before travelling.

A statement dated March 30 noted that

numerous invasions by cattle herders have taken place on

ranches and conservancies.

On March 6, Britain urged Kenya to quell escalating violence in the county after British rancher Tristan Voorspuy was shot dead by suspected invading herders.

More than 24 hours after he was slain at midday on his property, his remains had not been collected. Police had said the area was too dangerous for two helicopters and two armoured vehicles that could be attacked.

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Seven out of 30 tourism lodges in Laikipia have closed since Christmas due to violent attacks.

Mukutan is the second tourism lodge to be burned by attackers in January.

The attack on the Mukutan, where guests can pay more than $650 per night according to travel websites, followed a military operation to restore law and order in the area.

Security officials and the lodge's owners were not immediately available for comment.

Insecurity in Laikipia has spiked in recent months as armed cattle herders searching for scarce grazing drive tens of thousands of cattle onto private farms and ranches. A dozen people have been killed.

Some lawmakers have said the violent land invasions were being stoked by politicians seeking votes from particular ethnic blocs in a national election scheduled for August.

Reports earlier indicated that more than 50 invaders were streaming in from Kaptuya in Baringo, the power base of Churo/Amaya MCA Thomas Minito.

Minito has been termed a militant MCA and was allegedly seen whipping up trespassers today.

Residents accused him of instigating much of the violence across Western Laikipia in recent months with two other Pokot and Samburu MPs.

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