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Bring back our cows,Isiolo, Kenya leaders say

Isiolo leaders have demanded the return of 450 cattle confiscated by farmers from Igembe North in Meru County last Wednesday.

Governor Godana Doyo and Isiolo South MP Abdullahi Banticha yesterday accused police and administrators in Igembe North of taking sides in a dispute between Isiolo herders from Kulamawe location and farmers from Kumulini location in Mutuati.

The duo said Meru farmers killed and feasted on 38 cattle and took off with the rest. Isiolo herders declined to take 77 cattle, 12 of them with various degrees of injuries, which were recovered by police from the farmers and kept at Igembe North Police Station until the rest were found.

Mr Doyo claimed the stolen animals were hidden in farms not far away from the police station and called on police to prevail on residents to surrender the animals.

"Isiolo herders have lost more than 400 animals and representatives of the national government know about it. We want our animals back," said the county chief.

Mr Banticha said police and administrators in Igembe North were allegedly influenced by politicians in Meru, adding that the leaders intimidated the officers by invoking the name of President Uhuru Kenyatta.

"We are all in the Jubilee government and Meru leaders should not be intimidating national government workers by invoking the name of the President. We are all equal partners," said the legislator.

Doyo faulted police for charging five of the owners of the stolen animals with attempted murder, adding that they ought to have gone for the person who shot and injured a farmer from Igembe North.

"Instead of helping the livestock owners whose livestock were stolen, they gave focus to the farmer who was injured. I want to tell the administrators and police in Meru that the Borana from Isiolo and Meru are also Kenyans and should be treated fairly," said the county boss.

Tension rising

Tension has remained high along the Isiolo South and Igembe North border after the Wednesday incident.

Herders from Isiolo's Kulamawe location were grazing their animals at Dakar Dertu when farmers from Kamulini in Igembe North attacked them, accusing the migrants of trespassing into their farms.

A man identified by Mutuati police as Charles Ntoruru sustained a gunshot wound to the left shoulder and was admitted at Maua Methodist Hospital.

Igembe North OCPD Peter Kimani said Meru farmers reacted angrily by rounding up the Boranas' cattle and slashing some to death while others sustained panga cuts.

"We do not know the number of animals stolen but 400 is an exaggerated figure," said the officer.

At the same time, five Isiolo livestock owners were charged with attempted murder at a Maua court for allegedly shooting Mr Ntororo from Igembe North in Meru. They were arrested last Thursday. The hearing date will be fixed on Thursday, this week.