State to flush out illegal herders invading private land in Kitui

Eastern Regional Commissioner Isaiah Nakoru speaks at a past function. He has warned herders against invading private farms in Kitui county. [Joseph Muchiri, Standard]

An operation to flush out pastoralists who have driven their camels to people’s lands in Kitui County, precipitating inter-county conflicts is underway, the Government has said.

Eastern Regional Coordinator Isaiah Nakoru said the Government was concerned about the tribal clashes fuelled by the dispute over grazing fields

Kitui residents have since last month been complaining about forceful invasion of their lands by pastoralists who have refused to move out despite being requested by locals.

This has led to violent clashes where human lives, livestock and property has been lost.

“The government will not sit and watch as two communities clash over grazing field differences. We will take stern action. This will not be the first time the government security agencies will be flushing out pastoralists trespassing into people's lands to graze livestock,” said Nakoru at his office in Embu town.

The senior administrator said there is always a procedure that every community follows whenever herders from other communities want to graze their livestock in a foreign community.

He said elders from both communities must hold amicable talks and agree on how grazing resources would be used.

 “There are herders from neighbouring counties who sneak into another county without following the set cultural procedures. These are criminals who are contributing to food insecurity in Kitui as they drive their camels into private lands and destroy germinating crops," he said.

He said among those to be arrested are herders who had driven their livestock into Kitui Game Reserve.

“Some people masquerading as camel herders have started pitching camp and setting up homes inside the game reserve. We will flush them out,” he warned.

Nakoru said the country is governed by law and all citizens must follow the set laws.

The regional security head also ordered residents who have illegal firearms to surrender them forthwith.

"Those with illegal firearms can either register with the area chiefs that they are holding guns or they can also return them to police stations near them or else the government will use force to get them," he said.

Interior CS Fred Matiangi met political leaders from the pastoral community and those of Kitui county on Monday in a bid to resolve the grazing field dispute.

The Standard
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