Isiolo herders in fresh fight over grazing land

Tuesday March 21 2017

Herders water their animals in Isiolo town on

Herders water their animals in Isiolo town on September 10, 2015. There’s tension in Kom, Isiolo County as two communities fight over grazing land. FILE PHOTO | VIVIAN JEBET | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By VIVIAN JEBET
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Fresh fights between herders from two pastoralist communities erupted in Kom, Isiolo County Monday leaving one person injured.

Tension continues to grip the volatile area following death of 10 herders from Borana and Samburu communities over grazing land on Sunday.

One scout from Biliko-Bulesa conservancy was shot in the arm when Borana bandits opened fire at Samburu herders who had gone to collect dead bodies of their colleagues at the scene.

Merti Deputy County Commissioner Julius Maiyo said seven out of 10 bodies of those killed during the Sunday’s attack have been retrieved from the scene.

“Three bodies from Samburu’s side have been collected and taken to Isiolo Referral Hospital mortuary for preservation; two bodies belonging to Borana community were buried in Merti while two others collected from the scene were yet to be buried in Biliko and Dimado areas in Merti Sub- County,” said the administrator.

Police from Archers Post, Samburu County are interrogating one suspect, a driver of a lorry who was spotted ferrying 60 morans from Marsabit County to the area two days before Sunday’s fierce gun fight.

Mr Maiyo said police are yet to establish their mission.

On the remaining bodies, the DCC said herders could not access the area to collect the bodies due to fear of revenge attacks.

Some of the 20 cattle that were shot dead were still lying at the battle field, about 100 kilometres from Isiolo town.

“The herders who are armed with illegal firearms from both communities have not withdrawn from the scene and are still camouflaging around the area,” he added.

Security has been heightened to prevent retaliatory attacks and to restore normalcy in the area.

The movement of armed herders from neighbouring counties of Marsabit, Samburu and Isiolo into the area in search of water and pasture for their livestock due to drought has sparked tension.

On Sunday, about 100 armed bandits from Borana community attacked Samburu herders who had migrated from Samburu County with their livestock.

Motorists and public vehicles have been forced to use the Garfasa-Mbarambate- Kulamawe route towards Isiolo town for fear of attacks along the Kom-Archers Post route.