Poor communication network in northern Meru is a hindrance to curbing common cattle rustling.
Meru County Commander Patrick Lumumba, speaking after he and other senior security officers returned from a mission to recover over 100 goats and sheep stolen from Antubetwe Kiongo in Igembe North, said lack of communication boosters had led to theft of many herds.
Lumumba said while the security team had done well to recover stolen livestock in Igembe, and over 60 goats in Subuiga, poor communication infrastructure had made it impossible for livestock owners and security personnel to work together.
Lumumba said many times, the livestock owners report theft too long after the thieves had crossed the border into neighboring county.
“There is no (telephone) network in large areas of Nyambene (Igembe and Tigania). It takes a long time for residents to relay news of livestock theft to us. We are also challenged because we cannot communicate effectively with our security personnel who go after the raiders,” he said.
Lumumba said the campaign against livestock theft would be easier if telecommunication boosters are installed in the region, which is used by the attackers who he said are armed with modern rifles.
He said: “If residents report to us immediately the attackers take away their animals, we immediately launch an operation to pursue them and seal escape routes. We also try to communicate with the security personnel across the border. But it becomes difficult when a raid is reported three hours after the raiders have left.”
“Poor communication network is quite a challenge for, us, even though we have been recovering most of the stolen livestock. Installation of boosters would really help us, as we work to eradicate the problem, which robs residents of livelihoods,” Lumumba said.
security officers recovered livestock stolen from the area and driven to Isiolo, said Buuri OCPD Joseph Asugo said
“If the Nyambene Conservancy is established it will act as a buffer zone against the cattle rustlers who are armed to the teeth. The rangers in the reserve would not only keep watch over the wildlife but also act to deter the raiders using the region,” said Mr Kaliunga.