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Bandits torch Merigwiti Primary School in Laikipia County

Yesterday, the National Security Council meeting chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House, Nairobi declared the region a disturbed area and listed it an operation zone.

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Merigwiti Primary School up in flames. Photo/Courtesy

Bandits have this afternoon torched Merigwiti Primary School in Laikipia West, barely 24 hours after the government announced a security operation in the region.

This happened as Regional Commissioner, George Natembeya was addressing a peace meeting at Olmoran Center, less than 5 kilometres from the school.

Earlier today, Natembeya led a high-level security detail to launch a security operation meant to disarm and drive away Pokot, Samburu and Turkana herders from the region.

“National Police Reservists tried to ward off the heavily armed bandits but were overpowered. It has taken the efforts of KDF in choppers to contain the situation,” stated John Maina, a resident.

Mr Natembeya said that the bandits are using heavy and sophisticated firearms such as M16 and other heavy rifles used by soldiers from foreign countries who train in Kenya.

There were no pupils in the school at the time of the attack as the school had been closed due to rising cases of insecurity in the region. Families have fled the region to safer zones.

Yesterday, the National Security Council meeting chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House, Nairobi declared the region a disturbed area and listed it an operation zone.

The government issued a 48 hours ultimatum for illegal herders, politicians and public officers to remove their animals from the Laikipia Nature Conservancy in Laikipia County.

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Laikipia

Laikipia insecurity hampers government’s drought risk management programs

The insecurity has affected the broader community in the vital battle against climate change, land degradation, and sustainability projects such as avocado and apiary.

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A fattened Boran bull. Photo/Courtesy

The ongoing insecurity situation in Laikipia West has hampered the national government’s drought risk management programs at the Laikipia Nature Conservancy (LNC).

The National Drought Management Authority has partnered with the LNC in an annual fattening and breed stock improvement cycle for about 1,500 to 4,000 local livestock.

The LNC Executive Director, Sveva Gallmann says that local cattle are no longer able to access the grazing lands due to the ongoing insecurity.

She said LNC has for years provided structured grazing for community members without problems, generating income for the pastoralists of over KShs100 million a year.

“We had to stop this fattening scheme due to an insurgence of armed men with over 15, 000 head of cattle coming from other Counties,” she stated in a statement to newsrooms.

She revealed that the LNC had done away with cattle rearing projects and dedicated its well-managed grass bank to the neighbouring communities.

However, she noted, the armed insurgence has debilitated the scheme as many areas of the conservancy no longer have any grass left at all, and local pastoralists livelihoods are at stake.

Sveva added that the insecurity has affected the broader community in the vital battle against climate change, land degradation, and sustainability projects such as avocado and apiary.

“The LNC looks forward to the successful eviction of the remaining militia within LNC and a resumption of LNC’s work with government to deliver water, grazing and livelihoods to its local communities,” she stated.

The insecurity has also affected similar livestock programs at Kifuku Boran Stud, a cattle ranch near Rumuruti and other ranches in Laikipia County.

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Laikipia

Laikipia West insecurity aimed at displacing local inhabitants, LNC management says

The region is not new to insecurity incidences, despite the government assuring the conservationists, farmers and ranchers of their safety and property.

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An armed herder

The management of Laikipia Nature Conservancy (LNC) has expressed fears that the insecurity in Laikipia West is politically incited aimed at displacing local inhabitants.

LNC Executive Director, Sveva Gallmann noted that in pre-election years, such as this, armed bandits invade the area and terrorise residents, including LNC management.

Renowned author and conservationist, Kuki Gallmann was in May his year shot through the leg when she encountered bandits in her LNC property near Ol Moran.

“My mother is one of the dozens of community members who have been wounded or killed in recent months in Laikipia West,” stated Sveva in a statement.

In 2017, Kuki and her daughter, Sveva, were severely shot at and their exclusive safari lodge burnt down by suspected cattle raiders in the conservancy.

The 85,000-acre LNC was purchased from a Kenyan company in 1972, with leases that still run for many decades. From 1983, the land was dedicated to conservation and community projects.

Through the preservation of its extensive forest cover, it is the primary water tower for the World Heritage Sites of Lake Baringo and Lake Bogoria.

The region is not new to insecurity incidences, despite the government assuring the conservationists, farmers and ranchers of their safety and property.

In March 2017, herders shot and killed Sosian Ranch co-owner Tristan Voorspuy while he was inspecting a burnt lodge in the expansive 24,000-acre ranch.

Armed herders from as far as Isiolo, Baringo, Pokot, Samburu and Marakwet regions have for years invaded and terrorized Suyian, Ol Maisor, ADC Mutara, LNC, Kifuku, Mugie, Sosian and other ranches.

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Besieged Kamket arrives in Nakuru for questioning over Laikipia insecurity

Kamket was in February arrested and grilled over Kapedo clashes in Turkana County and was later released after about five hours of grilling.

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Kamket arrives at the Regional DCI Headquarters

Tiaty Member of Parliament, William Kamket has arrived at the regional Directorate of Criminal Investigation headquarters in Nakuru for questioning in connection to Laikipia County insecurity.

Earlier in the day, former Laikipia North MP, Mathew Lempurkel was arrested at his Ongata Rongai home in Kajiado County and is being held at Integrity Centre, Nairobi.

Regional Commissioner, George Natembeya today morning said security agencies were looking for three politicians on suspicion of fueling banditry attacks in Laikipia County.

“When they go to Nairobi they pretend to be good people but on the ground, they are the ones who are funding the violence. A time has come for them to stop shading those crocodile tears,” said Natembeya.

This comes after eight people, including three police officers, lost their lives in just six days from bandit attacks in the area, even with a high police presence in the region.

Officials said politicians, a judge, senior military, and police officers are among those who have illegally moved livestock into Laikipia Nature Conservancy.

Kamket was in February arrested and grilled over Kapedo clashes in Turkana County and was later released after about five hours of grilling.

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