Tension at Kericho-Kisumu border over attacks on livestock found grazing on private land

There has been tension between two communities residing on the border between Kericho and Kisumu counties following random attacks on livestock grazing on private land.

One community accuses the other of freeing animals to graze on their food crops while another is angered by the retaliatory attack on the domestic animals.

The dispute that erupted at Lelaitich at the border separating the two counties has left more than 12 herds of cattle with injuries following the attacks with machetes.

Also, huge chunks of crops in the fields have been destroyed by the livestock that were let to graze in private farms.

Koitaburot Location Chief Phillip Terer said the ethnic flare-up was triggered when the herd of cattle belonging to former Mau evictees were taken to graze on private land belonging to a neighbouring community.

"The owner of the piece of land was not amused by the action and armed himself with a machete and attacked the animals before fleeing the scene," he said.

Charles Chepkwony, whose four cows were attacked expressed fears that he might lose his only source of livelihood.

"It pains me so much because there no other agricultural activity we rely on other than cattle keeping," he said.

Luckily for Chepkwony, veterinary doctors stationed at Kipsitet trading centre arrived at the scene and sutured the animals' wounds and administered anti-biotic.

Soin ward Member of County Assembly (MCA) Josephat Ruto who was among the leaders on the ground to try to calm the situation, called on leaders drawn from Kericho and Kisumu Counties, to rein on their respective area residents.

"Peace and reconciliation efforts is urgently required to defuse the mounting tension and build lasting peace," he said.

By the time of going to press, anti-riot police officers from Chemelil Police Station had been deployed to the area.