Conflict between the local community and a wildlife conservancy near the world-famous Masai Mara Game Reserve over lease agreement took a new turn yesterday after unknown assailants attacked the conservancy manager with arrows.
The over 300 out of over 2,000 members of the 30,000-acre Olarro Group Ranch claimed that they were ‘duped’ into signing a 15-year lease with Olarro Company Limited-an investor who established a wildlife conservancy without properly-laid out clauses.
The enraged locals said they have realized that the agreement they signed with the company more than three years ago had some ‘punitive’ clauses that they wanted amended.
The attacking of Mr William Justine the Manager of the Olarro Company by unknown people according to the police, could be linked with the conflict over the management of the conservancy.
Area OCPD Anthony Shimoli who confirmed the incident said Mr Justine was on his daily patrols within the ranch when he was shot on his left cheek with an arrow.
“We received reports that a conservancy investor had been attacked with arrows at Siana area. My officers toured the scene and confirmed that indeed he had been injured,” said Shimoli.
Mr Justine was treated at local dispensary where a minor operation was conducted to remove the arrow and was discharged with police vowing to arrest those behind the incident.
The irate community members led by former Siana MCA Henry Siololo and community activist Anthony Rinka said the community was on the verge of dissolving the conservancy should the conservancy fail to bow to their demands.
Among the community demands was that the pastoral community wanted amendment of the agreement to allow the community access to the Roble River within the ranch to water their animals.
The community also decried being sidelined in the on-goings at the conservancy despite them giving out their land for conservation.
“We are demanding a review of this agreement. We want to be allowed to elect our committee who will be addressing our issues with the conservancy. The three who are there are not representing the wishes of the community,” said Mr Siololo.
The conservancy officials led by Kinata Sururu (Chairman) Olarro Conservancy has demanded justice for the injured investor terming those opposing the conservation as playing politics.
“As a conservancy we have never protected the community from accessing water. We have even drilled boreholes to the community. It is their right to access water. Politicians seem to be politicizing the issue for mileage,” said Mr Sururu.
He said the conservancy was doing well the community before they were ‘incited’ by politicians claiming that no one shot at the livestock at all but instead they were trying to control grazing.