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August 21, 2018

Herders invade Laikipia farms, kill wild animals

A group of gazelle at Tsavo East national park,Tana River county./FILE
A group of gazelle at Tsavo East national park,Tana River county./FILE

Armed Pokot and Samburu herders have invaded farms in Ng’arua, Laikipia county, in search of pasture and water for their livestock, spreading fear among residents.

The herdsmen, who come from the neighbouring Baringo and Samburu counties, graze their cattle in farms with impunity, destroying crops worth thousands of shillings.

Residents said the herders have firearms and crude weapons; and use brutal force.

Mugie Conservancy was attacked yesterday by heavily armed Pokot gunmen who killed Zebras, a giraffe, an antelope and an elephant. They opened fire on KWS rangers.

A source said residents have accused Pokot and Samburu politicians of inciting the herders. The Pokot herdsmen, the source said, burnt farm buildings and drove their animals into the private property.

Maua, Miteta, Kamwenje, Mastoo and Village-18 are some of the the worst affected. There has been no response from security officers.

Speaking to the media yesterday, residents expressed fear that this is a sign of a looming conflict between them and the pastoralists. They have urged the government to drive the herders out of their villages.

Respect private property

Local leaders, led by Githiga MCA Peter Thomi and Laikipia Maendeleo Ya Wanawake Organisation chairperson Irene Wachuka, urged the government to restore calm and protect residents from invasion and intimidation.

The leaders cautioned the pastoralists against invading farms, saying it is illegal and an abuse of residents’ rights.

In November last year, pastoralists and ranch owners clashed over land. Senator GG Kariuki said five people were killed, but county commissioner Chege Mwangi said those who died were four.

Residents say, however, 10 people were killed. Will Jennings’ farm outside Rumuruti was also invaded by armed herdsmen, who engaged guards in a shootout.

 

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