One killed, five injured as herders clash over pasture

One of the people injured during a clash between Samburu and Isiolo herders over grazing land and livestock watering holes. The victims have been admitted at Maralal County Hospital. [Michael Saitoti, Standard]

A conflict over pasture and animal watering point at Lowan Kichu border between Samburu and Isiolo counties had left one person dead and five others injured.

The clash between the herders from neighbouring communities comes slightly over a month after at least three people were killed following clashes between armed herders from the two counties in the Mlango area.

Five victims of the Monday morning attack remain hospitalized with gunshot wounds at Archers Post  Dispensary and Maralal Hospital in Samburu.

The medic in charge of Archers Post facility Aloise Lekupe said the injured were brought in after the morning attack but two of them who were in critical condition were transferred to Maralal Hospital.

According to the Rift Valley Regional Police Commander Tom Odera, the incident was under investigation and more details about the attack would be released later.

Sources told the Standard the incident occurred as a result of the ongoing drought that has pushed herders to compete for the little grazing fields and few animal watering points in the region.

Immediately after the attack, Samburu leader led by Governor Lati Lelelit condemned the attack and appealed to the government to investigate Isiolo leaders who allegedly incited the violence.

Lelelit said a white Toyota Land Cruiser that allegedly ferried attackers to the area should be investigated claiming that some leaders from Isiolo might be involved in planning the attack.

"I call on authorities to investigate the white Toyota Land Cruiser that was transporting people from Isiolo to Samburu border to attack our herders." the governor demanded.

Samburu North MP Eli Letipila said that Isiolo leaders allegedly stopped their counterparts from Samburu from grazing and watering their animals in the area.

Letipila said the conflict was fueled by the ongoing drought that has seen Samburu herders move to the area in search of pasture and water for their livestock.

He said it was against pastoral ethics to fight over pasture and water for the animals, saying herders must accommodate one another, especially at the height of the drought.

  Meanwhile, one person was killed on Sunday afternoon while herding and his goats driven away by suspected bandits from Elgeyo Marakwet.

Confirming the incident the area county commissioner Abdirisack Jaldesa said that the deceased was herding the livestock before meeting his death on Sunday.

"Today afternoon one person was killed at Teren in Kinyach with a number of livestock driven away by bandits suspected to be from the neighbouring Elgeyo Marakwet County," Jaldesa said.

He added that the bandits had invaded Kobot grazing field where they shot the deceased Tonny Barkatwa.

“The deceased was shot on the neck which exited at the back of his head, he also had gunshot wounds on both legs,” the commissioner said.

The administrator confirmed that security officers were pursuing the livestock.

Jaldesa added that it was the first incident to occur this year after the area experienced calm since last year.

"This is the first incident since the beginning of the year, the area has been calm, last year we imposed curfew along Kerio valley belt and Tiaty Sub County which led to calm in the area," he added.

He explained that the operation was going on within the county stating that security officers from the neighbouring county were working together with the Baringo counterpart in ensuring that the stolen livestock was returned.

The body of the deceased has been taken to Baringo County Morgue awaiting post-mortem.