Compensate farmers for losses incurred when herders invade land: Laikipia leaders

Wednesday November 8 2017

Ndiritu Muriithi.

Laikipia Governor Ndiritu Muriithi. He has demanded compensation for smallholder farmers who have incurred losses after herders invaded their farms. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By ERIC MATARA
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By STEVE NJUGUNA
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Leaders in Laikipia County, led by Governor Ndiritu Muriithi, on Wednesday demanded compensation for smallholder farmers who have incurred losses after herders invaded their farms.

They also demanded investigations into a shooting incident at Ratia Village in Ol Moran area, Laikipia North.

INVASIONS

The leaders urged the government to intensify security operations in the county, as they supported the effort to drive away illegal herders.

“We want compensation for over 1,500 destroyed farms and 3,250 livestock stolen over the last year. The invasions have affected many families and that is why we are asking for compensation,” Governor Muriithi said.

“We also await without prejudice the results of any further official investigations into what occurred at Ratia area and everyone in Laikipia knows it is only through the restoration of law and order that the county will heal and grow.”

They spoke as security officials in Laikipia County moved to dispel fears of attacks. Reports emerged that pastoralists, whose cattle were killed by police last week at Ratia Village, were planning a retaliatory attack to avenge the killing of their animals.

SECURITY

Laikipia County Police Commander Simon Kipkeu said security had been beefed up in all areas that are prone to attacks.

“We have put mechanisms in place to ensure that we have beefed up security. We have deployed enough security officers on the ground and I want to assure residents that their security is assured as our officers are on high alert,” said the police boss on Tuesday.

A blame game has emerged between a section of leaders from Laikipia County, Samburu County and the police.

While herders claim that more than 300 head of cattle were shot dead, security chiefs in the county have dismissed the claims, saying only 75 livestock were killed during a fire exchange between officers and the herders.

Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet defended the officers, saying the animals were shot when a large group of armed men engaged police in a shootout while taking cover behind the livestock.

SLAIN

More than 10 security officers have been shot and injured in confrontations between the herders and the security officers in Laikipia County since January 2017.

On February 8, Rumuruti OCPD Merengo Muherai was shot in the chest and seriously injured while he led an operation to drive away illegal grazers at Kifuku Ranch in Rumuruti Town, Laikipia West.

Days later a GSU officer was also shot during an operation in the area.

A police driver was also shot and injured in the chest at Sosian Ranch two weeks later.

Sosian Ranch co-owner Tristan Voorspuy was shot dead on March 5 by illegal grazers as he inspected a section of his lodge that had been burnt by the herders.

DANGEROUS

On April 23, renowned conservationist Kuki Gallman was shot and seriously injured by herders who invaded her Laikipia Nature Conservancy in Laikipia West.

Ms Gallman, the author of the book “I Dream of Africa”, was attacked and shot in the stomach as she was patrolling her ranch.

In March, President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered the deployment of the military to troubled Rift Valley areas, including Laikipia County, to help police restore law and order.

The Kenya Defence Forces were sent to parts of Baringo, Elgeyo Marakwet, West Pokot and Laikipia counties.

In the same month, the government gazetted seven zones in Laikipia County as "dangerous and disturbed".

In a Gazette notice signed by the late Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery, the government named Kirimon, Marmanet, Mukogodo East, Ng’arua (Matuiku and Mithiga locations), Ol Moran, Rumuruti and Segera as dangerous areas.