Ruto: Victims of animal attack to be compensated Sh3B within 60 days

President William Ruto accompanied by his deputy Rigathi Gachagua commissions the new electric fence which will fence off Lariak forest in Laikipia West. The move is to curb rising cases of human-wildlife conflict in the region. [James Munyeki, Standard]

President William Ruto has promised that the government will clear Sh3 billion compensation owed to victims of human-wildlife conflict within two months.

Ruto who spoke during the launch of the Human-Wildlife Conflict Mitigation and Compensation Scheme in Rumuruti Stadium, Laikipia County said the government has already paid Sh4 billion to over 10,000 victims.

“Over 17,000 cases have been verified, the remaining 7,000 victims will be compensated in 60 days,” said the President.

At the same time, the president said that compensation money for fatal wild animal attacks will increase from Sh200,000 to Sh5 million.

“If a farmer is attacked and killed by an elephant, the government will compensate his or her family with Sh5 million,” he said.

The President added that those who suffer injuries from attacks will be compensated depending on the injuries sustained but the money will now range from Sh1 million to over Sh3 million.

According to Ruto, victims and their families will also have a new online platform to report incidents in a bid to ensure their compensation is within months and not years as has been the case in previous years.

The President said that the government has set aside Sh960 million this year to compensate the victims.

He said the money would be processed promptly through the digital system.

"We have seen our people suffer due to the wildlife attacks and we will compensate all of them,” he said.

Ruto also launched the Sh90 million Lariak forest electric fence. He said the 76-kilometer fence will protect farmers in the region from wildlife attacks.

He also promised to build 100 kilometers of electric fence to ensure there is no human-wildlife conflict. “In the next five years we should have fenced off the forests and all wildlife areas,” he said.

The government, Ruto said will employ 1,500 Game Rangers and deploy the majority of them to affected counties.

The government has set aside Sh25 billion to buy new equipment for officers tackling banditry and terrorism within the affected counties.

Ruto said they will add 250 more National Police Reserve (NPR) to the 360 deployed to Laikipia, with a plan to end insecurities within the county and its borders.

“I give you my word that we are going to secure Laikipia County as we have secured the other counties in Kenya,” said the President.

Ruto said that Elgeyo Marakwet, Baringo, Isiolo, Turkana, Samburu, and Laikipia among other affected counties will not be left out.

“The noise you hear from bandits are the last kicks of dying horses. Let us work together. Do not hide criminals and bandits,” he warned.

Speaking on the human-wildlife conflict, Wildlife and Tourism Cabinet Secretary Dr Alfred Mutua said the compensation Fund will be a boost to support families affected by human-wildlife conflict.

Laikipia County has in decades experienced cases of the vice that have seen residents lose their lives and farmers lose crops worth millions of shillings due to elephant invasion.

Laikipia Governor Joshua Irungu said the initiative was a new beginning for the locals. “We want to thank the government for taking care of the affected families who have suffered for long," noted Irungu.

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