Raila condemns govt over killing of cattle in Laikipia

Saturday November 4 2017

Nasa leader Raila Odinga

Nasa leader Raila Odinga addresses a press conference at Okoa Kenya office in Nairobi on October 31, 2017. He has said pastoralists should not be criminalised. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NATION MEDIA GROUP  

By PHILIP MOMANYI MAOSA
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By COLLINS OMULO
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Nasa leader Raila Odinga has said the government should compensate the pastoralists whose livestock were killed during a police operation in Laikipia County on Wednesday.

Speaking during a press conference on Saturday, Mr Odinga accused the National Police Service of the crime and said it threatens the livelihood of the pastoralists.

More than 300 livestock belonging to pastoralists who had allegedly invaded private ranches in Ratia were killed.

CLAIMS

However, the National Police Service denied the claims, saying that the animals were killed during a shootout between police officers and illegal herders.

In a statement, spokesman George Kinoti said that the herders used the cows as shields during the gunfight.

"Nothing could be further from the truth. The dead livestock were caught in the crossfire simply because the armed herders chose to use the cows as shields while firing at the police,” he said, adding that the operation will continue.

POLICY

To protect the Maasai and other pastoralists communities' interests, Mr Odinga proposed that the government should develop "clear policy for coexistence between ranchers and pastoralists".

He added: "Pastoralists should have controlled access to ranches during moments of drought. Criminalization of pastoralists should stop since they contribute to the nation’s economy."

INVESTIGATE

Additionally, a section of Maasai leaders have condemned the shooting and asked the government to launch investigations.

Led by Samburu Governor Moses Lenolkulal and his Kajiado counterpart Joseph ole Lenku, they demanded that the police officers who were involved in the incident be prosecuted.

They also refuted claims that the herders ambushed the officers.

"We as the leaders from the Maa community, we demand that the government through the relevant security agencies starts investigations into the shooting of cows in Laikipia in order to bring the culprits to book," Governor Lenolkulal said in a press conference in Nairobi on Saturday.