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Remove illegal camel herders, Kinango residents tell State

Tuesday September 3 2019

Residents of Chanzou in Kwale protest

Residents of Chanzou in Samburu/Chengoni Ward, Kwale County protesting on September 2, 2019 after camel herders invaded their land in search of pasture and water. They want the herders flushed out, saying they came without their consent. PHOTO | FADHILI FREDRICK | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

FADHILI FREDRICK
By FADHILI FREDRICK
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Tension is building up in Chanzou, Makamini and Bofu villages in Samburu/Chengoni Ward, Kinango, Kwale County between the locals and camel herders over grazing land.

The locals have said that at least 150 camels belonging to five herders from north eastern Kenya have invaded their farms searching for pasture and water due to drought in their areas of origin.

The agitated residents have warned they may be forced to take the law in their own hands if the government fails to flush out the illegal herders.

WREAKING HAVOC

Mr Chiberya Mboga, a resident who spoke to the Nation by phone, said the camels have been wreaking havoc in the villages for almost two weeks now.

He said the herders have been grazing their hundreds of camels on their land without their consent and forcibly driving locals away.

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"We cannot go on with our daily activities as usual because of the invasion of our farms by the herders," he said.

Mr Mboga said their only source of water, Chanzou dam, is drying up due the invasion by the camels.

“We are forced to share the water with the camels and we risk a disease breakout since the camels urinate in the remaining sources of water thereby affecting our livestock," he said.

Another resident, Mr Karani Mwayawa, said their animals have been dying as result of the camels grazing in their farms, wiping out the little remaining pastures.

DRY

"It is now very dry and some of the water sources have dried up too and the presence of the camels is worsening the situation which we will not tolerate," he said.

Mr Mwayawa asked security officers to intervene before the dispute escalates to clashes.

“There is need for security officers to solve this problem before it results to clashes,” said Mwayawa.

Another resident from Chanzou, Mr Mwambaji Mangale, said the illegal grazers have driven hundreds of their animals into people’s settlements in search of water and pasture.

FOOD SCARCE

He demanded the immediate removal of the herders.

"The camels are not sparing anything in our farms, making the food situation even worse. We are asking the security apparatus in the county to deal with the situation and restore calm," he said.

Currently, the angry villagers are holding the herders and their camels at Chanzou village seeking for a solution.

Kinango Deputy County Commissioner Kialo Kaloki called for calm and warned residents against taking the law into their own hands.

"We are asking for calm as we seek to resolve the tension," he said.