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Herders killed in fresh attack by cattle thieves

Monday September 30 2013

A map showing West Pokot County.

A map showing West Pokot County. GOOGLE MAPS

BARNABAS BII
By BARNABAS BII
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Several herdsmen were on Monday killed and more than 600 animals stolen in the latest cross-border cattle raid on a West Pokot village.

The more than 200 raiders attacked Apuko village in Pokot North and drove away the animals after a fierce morning battle with Pokot herdsmen and security officers.

The raiders are suspected to be from Uganda and Turkana.

“Heavy fighting is still on between the attackers and the combined security team consisting of General Service Unit and the Anti-Stock Theft Unit officers,” said Mr Peter Okwanyo, the West Pokot county commissioner.

The attackers drove the animals towards Loima District in Turkana County, Mr Okwanyo said by phone.

The Karamojas from Uganda are cousins of the Turkanas, and are known to stage joint raids against the Pokots.

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“We have requested for aerial support from the police air-wing to pursue the raiders and recover the animals,” said Mr Okwanyo.

More than 100 police officers have been posted to Katikomor, on the Kenya-Uganda border near Suam, to contain attacks between pastoralists from the two countries.

The county commissioner said GSU and Anti-Stock Theft camps had been set up at Lorogoon on the West Pokot-Turkana boundary to counter any attacks.

IMPACT NEGATIVELY

“The attacks are likely to impact negatively on the socio-economic status of the pastoralists by derailing cross-border trade and other development initiatives,” said Mr Okwanyo.

Meanwhile, police in cattle rustling-prone parts of North Rift have come up with a plan to contain retaliatory attacks among pastoralists as raiders turn to kidnappings after stealing animals.