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Government orders illegal herders out of Laikipia County in 7 days

Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr Fred Matiang’i warned the herders that a crackdown will follow the lapse of the ultimatum and urged them to leave within the window.

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An armed herder

The Government has given herders who have invaded private farms in Laikipia seven days to move out of the County or face forceful evictions.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr Fred Matiang’i warned the herders that a crackdown will follow the lapse of the ultimatum and urged them to leave within the window.

Speaking at the Anti-Stock Theft Unit (ASTU) camp in Naibor in Laikipia County, the CS, who was accompanied by the Inspector General of Police Hilary Mutyambai, senior security officers and local leaders led by Governor Ndiritu Muriithi, blamed the encroaching herders for violent clashes with local farmers and owners of private ranches and conservancies.

“We are preparing a serious crackdown. It’ll be ruthless, and I plead will all illegal herders to move out within the period,” the CS said, adding that the Government would not hesitate to use force, if necessary, to protect the lives and private property bearing the brunt of invasions.

Dr Matiang’i also announced an immediate takeover by security teams of the 80,000- acre Kilmon farm that is owned by the Government and that has been a theatre of deadly clashes between armed herders from Laikipia and the neighbouring counties.

A GSU camp will be established at the parcel to create a buffer zone between the two warring sides. The CS further ordered private ranchers and pastoralists to register agreements on access to pastures with the County Government beginning next month to enable the government to enforce the pacts and arbitrate bloody disputes around their implementation.

He said, “If you have an agreement with ranchers, that’s OK. But for the Government to be able to provide security, we want such agreements recorded and the terms registered with the County Government to help resolve disputes around them.”

To help pastoralists in the County ease the pressure on grazing pastures and water points, the CS further announced that the Kenya Meat Commission (KMC), which is under the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF), will begin buying around 1,000 livestock weekly from next week in an off-take deal brokered by the Government.

The program will complement a similar one being implemented by the Country Government of Laikipia. The CS and Governor Muriithi urged pastoralists to take advantage of the offer to reduce their losses due to drought and improve the productivity of their livestock.

Dr Matiang’i also put on notice local politicians whom he accused of fanning violent clashes by sponsoring relocation and forceful displacement of residents to rearrange voter distribution in the area ahead of the 2022 general elections. He said the government will begin recruiting chiefs and assistant chiefs for new administrative units in the area, a move that will not only help contain the sponsored evictions but also decentralize security services.

“We must put an end to this balkanization. We will not allow wananchi to be hurt due to political positions. We will immediately arrest those encouraging election rearrangements through forced movements,” he said.

Leaders present blamed insecurity for the decline in tourism and the closure of hotels and lodges in the area, which have led to a loss of jobs and revenue for the county. Laikipia North MP Sarah Korere regretted that the latest flare-ups of violence had forced the closure of at least one public school in the area.

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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 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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