Seven killed in Isiolo cattle rustling raid

Wednesday September 7 2011

Women and children migrate to safer grounds in Samburu North, which has experienced cattle rustling and conflicts over pasture and water. Seven Borana herders were killed during a cattle rustling attack in Merti by Samburu raiders September 7, 2011. FILE

Women and children migrate to safer grounds in Samburu North, which has experienced cattle rustling and conflicts over pasture and water. Seven Borana herders were killed during a cattle rustling attack in Merti by Samburu raiders September 7, 2011. FILE  

By HASSAN HUKA and JOHN NGIRACHU

Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere has flown to Isiolo following the killing of seven herders in a cattle rustling attack in Merti.

Another four people were injured in the dawn attack.

Tension remains high in the area with residents demonstrating over insecurity.

In Parliament, four MPs from the affected regions issued a seven-day ultimatum for the government to deal with the perpetual cattle rustling issues in their constituencies.

They said the current form of the practice has gone commercial, with the bandits selling off the livestock after daring raids.

The MPs were led by Abdul Bahari (Isiolo South) in whose constituency the latest attacks took place.

Others who joined him at the press conference at Parliament Buildings were Adan Keynan (Wajir West), Dr Abdi Nuh Nassir (Bura), Mohammed Hussein Ali (Mandera East), Aden Duale (Dujis) and Jeremiah Kioni (Ndaragwa).

Mr Bahari accused the Internal Security ministry of selectively disarming communities in the area.

“Our people have been disarmed. On the contrary, people in Samburu have not been disarmed and even if they have, we have not seen the effect as they seem to have guns during the raids,” he said.

Mr Keynan said the government should have the stolen livestock returned, the injured and dead compensated and action taken on the criminals.

“We’re giving them seven days, or else we’ll tell our people to protect themselves. We cannot be perpetually talking to a government that does not see, does not hear and does not sense the value of life,” said Mr Keynan.

He said the local administration and the police and intelligence arms in the affected areas know who the commercial bandits are but had refused to bring them to book.

Cattle rustling is a traditional pastime of the Turkana, Samburu and Pokot communities, but they have in the recent years adopted modern weapons.

Mr Bahari said the situation has been compounded by the current drought, meaning the pastoralist communities have to travel over larger distances to get to pasture.

He said in June and July, 10 Borana pastoralists were killed in Lesosia, an area on the border of Samburu and Isiolo counties.

He said over 1,000 heads of livestock were stolen on August 30, two people were killed and in the subsequent pursuit, only 14 of these were recovered.

“Whenever these raiders move into Samburu, we are unable to get them.  The security team seems to be asleep,” said Mr Bahari.

According to Mr Ali, some of the soldiers trained for the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia had defected back to Kenya, and it is likely some of them had returned with arms they could be using to terrorise neighbouring communities.