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379 herders arrested over Tristan Voorspuy’s killing

Hundreds of cattle being moved from Sosian Ranch in Laikipia County on ,March 6,2017 due to the on going insecurity experienced in the area PHOTO:KIPSANG JOSEPH

About 379 illegal herders will face the law for the killing of a British rancher.

Sosian Ranch co-owner Tristan Voorspuy was shot in his property at the weekend.

Director of Criminal Investigations Ndegwa Muhoro was yesterday sent to Laikipia County to lead operations on illegal grazers.

This came as Britain piled pressure on the Government to restore calm in Laikipia, where ranches have been invaded by herders for the past one month with disastrous results.

The British government called on Kenya to beef up security in the area where Voorspuy, a dual Kenyan/British national, was found killed.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery said the Government had taken appropriate measures to ensure illegal grazers are removed and kept away from private ranches.

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“Additional security personnel have been deployed in operations to flush out illegal grazers and recover stolen livestock,” Mr Nkaissery said.

He addressed the Press in Nairobi accompanied by his tourism colleague Najib Balala and environment’s Judi Wakhungu as they moved to assure international tourists that conservancies and ranches in the region are safe for safari.

Mr Voorspuy had ventured out on a horseback to visit a site on the ranch where two cottages had been set ablaze when he was killed on Sunday. His body was moved to Nairobi yesterday.

British High Commissioner Nic Hailey said he was “deeply saddened by the murder”.

“I welcome the clear commitment at the highest levels to tackle the situation, and continue to urge the Kenyan authorities to take all necessary steps urgently to restore law and order, and to protect life and property in the area,” Mr Hailey said.

He said he and other international partners, had repeatedly conveyed to the Kenyan authorities over the past months UK’s deep concern at the situation in parts of Laikipia.

Nkaissery, who was accompanied by Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet, said illegal grazers had been cleared from 16 ranches including Segera, Olmaisor, Ngano, Olenaishu, Tango-Maos, Impala, Ol-Jogi, Ngaruo and Kifuko.

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The CS said some private landowners had declined support from security agencies and preferred instead to negotiate directly with communities. He said the Government supports the move as long as there is peace and security.

He linked the conflict in Laikipia, Baringo and Elgeyo Marakwet to drought which has led to pressure on scarce pasture and water resources.

“Criminal elements have taken advantage to engage in cattle rustling, poaching and commit murders of citizen and even security officers,” Nkaissery added.

He accused some local political leaders of contributing to the tension by making inflammatory statements and inciting locals to illegally occupy private property. He said Mr Muhoro was in Laikipia to investigate and arrest those financing the activities.

“Watch this space. They will be arrested soon and face the rule of law,” he warned.

 MAJOR OPERATION

He said a major security operation will be launched in Laikipia to rid the region of illegal grazers. In Marakwet and Baringo, he said an operation that was launched last week is bearing fruit and added that four new camps have been established.

Voorspuy, a former British army officer, died on the spot and it took hours for his body to be collected since there were fears the bandits were still lurking in the bushes.

Nkaissery said they waited for arrival of officers from scenes of crime before picking up the body amid reports officers feared to venture there.

On Saturday, a police helicopter was shot at in the same farm as security officers carried out aerial surveillance where illegal grazers and bandits have continued to wreak havoc.

Initial reports suggested that the Inspector General of Police was in the targeted helicopter, but he denied the reports saying he had already left the area.

“That is false. I visited the area for two hours before leaving. There was no shooting at all,” Mr Boinnet said even as locals said there were gunshots as his chopper took off.

 

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