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How daring chicken thieves are driving residents and local administration up the wall

By Kevine Omollo | August 27th 2020 at 12:00:00 GMT +0300

Silvia Akoth, a farmer shows the only remaining chicken in her homestead at Kosele village, Rachuonyo South on August 21, 2020. The administration has recorded thousands of reports about chicken theft and breaking in at night, leaving a number of homes without anything. [ Denish Ochieng, Standard]

In North Kamagak village of Kasipul, Homa Bay County, it is easier to count the number of homes which have not been affected by chicken theft than those which have.

At least 200 cases have been reported to the area chief’s office this year alone.

And with the situation getting out of hand, villagers have formed a WhatsApp group on which they not only name and shame the suspects but to also organise disciplinary actions, mainly corporal punishment.

One suspect who recently escaped the dragnet is said to have taken refuge in Migori town after another one was lynched.

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Rosemary Anyango from Saye area had her brood stolen. Two months ago she woke up to find the door to her chicken coop wide open.

“At least 25 chickens were stolen. It had rained the previous night, so I did not hear any sound. I was woken up by screams from a neighbour whose house been broken into and her chicken stolen.

“I ran to her home without even pausing to check on mine. When I got home I found all my chickens gone,”  Anyango said.

Among the chickens that were stolen were three which were brooding, leaving behind about 50 eggs, while four others had week-old chicks, which all later died.

Similar fate

Her case is similar to that of Pamela Ondiek from the neighbouring village who had suffered a similar fate less than a week before.

“I still can’t understand how these people managed to quietly steal the chickens. It is not possible to get chickens to stay quiet, not unless the thieves use some chemicals which made us sleep as they stole.” she said.

For Sylvia Owuor, the thieves dug a hole through the wall, and carried away the chickens at night.

She discovered the chickens were missing in the morning.

“Our chickens are free range, so we release them in the morning and get them back to the house in the evening.

“When I went to open the door, I saw some chicks around the house and I wondered how they came out yet the door was closed, only to discover that a hole had been dug through the wall,” she said.

Benson Midigo, the area chief, has been forced to form a community security team which patrols the village in order to save the situation.

“They once came to my home, but were repelled by my dogs. Then they went to my mother’s house where they stole not only the chicken, but household goods too,” he said. 

Even the chief is not feel safe, yet he is the head of the security team in the area. All the homes surrounding his have been affected.

No arrests have been made, and Henry Kereya, the Assistant County Commissioner say villagers are to blame for failing to give the security agencies with information.

Most of the stolen chickens are sold in Sondu, Homa Bay and Kisumu towns.

“One of the suspects was recently nabbed by the public in Sondu, and lynched,” he added.


North Kamagak village Homa Bay County Chicken theft
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