By JOB WERU
As Dipa Lenanyangera drives along the dusty Archers Post-Wamba Road towards his remote Lerata home in Samburu, the dark memories of early March 2009 are heavy on his mind.
This is the day when state agents swarmed the village and impounded hundreds of his cattle before driving them away.
Dipa, like many of his Lerata, Laresoro, Archers Post, Sereolipi, Lpus-Lelai and Nakwamoru villages were left with nothing but bitterness to a government — to which they pay taxes.
That week of government ‘operation’ was filled with darkness and when life returned to normal, the villagers had plummeted from riches to poverty and destitution. Many children were orphaned while happy families were reduced hopelessness as bread winners were no more.
Many others were left nursing wounds after contingents of the elite Rapid Deployment Unit (RDU) of the Administration Police, the paramilitary General Service Unit, regular police and the army were deployed to take away thousands of cattle belonging to the pastoralist Samburu community. It was alleged that the villagers had stolen the animals from Isiolo, Meru North and Igembe districts.
Last year, when The Standard paid a visit to some of the aggrieved families in Laresoro, there was desperation all over. We found a widow, Nkaaya Lenaiyasa who had only five goats having lost a herd of 30 cattle and 29 goats to the officers.
Her son, Pipiol grazed the goats after abandoning school to take over the grazing role which his deceased brother used to handle.
The brother, Lemaikur, was allegedly shot dead by the security forces.
“He was grazing cattle with his cousins at a laga (sub-surface river) near Lolora hills. The army came and using two helicopters, started herding away the cattle,” said Nkaaya.
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