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February 22, 2019

Desert locusts invade Baringo, residents want them sprayed

Residents inspect vegetation consumed by locusts at Lorusia in Tiaty /JOSEPH KANGOGO
Residents inspect vegetation consumed by locusts at Lorusia in Tiaty /JOSEPH KANGOGO

Desert locusts have invaded Baringo and are feasting on the remaining green vegetation in the area.

The locusts are believed to have flown from the neighbouring Samburu, Isiolo and Turkana counties.

“This one seems like a double tragedy because the indigenous dry grasses that are not being consumed by locusts were being burned down recently by bandits,” said Achomongoria Tiriwo, a resident.

He said the last locusts’ invasion was in 1961.

“Pokot elders did some rituals and they have not returned since then but this one seems to be getting worse,” Tiriwo said.

He appealed to the government to spray the locusts before they spread to the neighbouring Elgeyo-Marakwet, West Pokot counties and Uganda.

The residents were already suffering after suspected Turkana bandits allegedly set ablaze grazing fields along Kapedo border of Baringo and Turkana counties two weeks ago.

“Unknown bandits believed to be from neighbouring Turkana East have for the last two weeks been burning bushes running on thousands of acres in Kasarani, Solar, Patipat and Lorusia in Tiaty Sub-county,” said Pokot herder Lokolinyang Lonyakou.

He suspected the bandits are seeking to push boundaries.

“National and the county governments of Baringo and Turkana should meet to chart on way forward to resolve the biting boundary disputes along the disputed Kapedo border,” Lonyakou said.

Tirioko Ward Representative Sam Lokales said he has informed the authorities about the two incidents but nothing has been done.

“These are two serious matters affecting our people that if not addressed soon might spark some tribal clashes or lead to acute droughts by early next year,” Lokales said.

This happens barely two weeks after Baringo South MP Charles Kamuren ordered back to Tiaty Pokot herders grazing their thousands of livestock in Arabal, Mukutani, Rugus and Noosukro.

He said these grazing fi elds fall in his territory and that his Tugen and Ilchamus people also need space to graze their livestock.

County commissioner Henry Wafula said he has not been notified of the incidents saying he will act as soon as he receives full information.

County director for agriculture Kibet Maina also denied having been informed of the locusts’ invasion.

“It is now that I am getting it from the media otherwise I will inform my bosses in Nairobi right away to budget and set the day to spray the locusts,” Maina said.

The official admitted the need for an emergency measure to eradicate the pests to save both farms and livestock production.

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