Traders behind cattle theft on Isiolo border

A cartel of livestock traders is responsible for cattle rustling in the troubled Meru-Isiolo border region. According to the Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet, the traders refer to the Meru side of the border as a livestock ATM because of readily available stocks for theft.

"We are aware of that derogatory term and have put in place measures to ensure that this is completely eradicated once and for all," said Boinnet.

Presentations to the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) forums for leaders in Meru North last month showed that 55 lives have been lost and cattle worth almost half a billion shillings stolen in the last one year.

The leaders reported to the NCIC that during the 13 month period covering year 2015 and January 2016, rustlers from the neighbouring county stole Sh485 million worth of livestock including 6,161 heads of cattle and goats worth Sh190 million. Boinnet said the police had intelligence that most of the livestock stolen in the area was immediately sold to commercial traders. Others were also distributed to the various kraals by the rustlers.

He said counter-measures include increasing the number of police officers, camps and equipment in the area as well as collaboration with communities on the both sides of the conflict.

"Those with illegal weapons, especially small light firearms, will be dealt with firmly," added the IG.