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MCA Thomas Minito arrested over Laikipia attacks

A Baringo County ward representative spent Thursday night in police cells after he was arrested in connection to violence in Laikipia County.

Churo-Amaya Ward Representative, Thomas Minito, was booked at Central Police Station in Nakuru Thursday evening.

Mr Minito is accused of propagating hate leading to the burning of Mukutan Retreat Lodge at Laikipia Nature Conservancy on Wednesday evening.

He was on Wednesday quoted by the media criticising the ongoing security operation to flush out illegal herders from a number of ranches and conservancies in Laikipia County.

He claimed that military officers and police had shot and killed thousands of animals grazing on vast private lands owned by white farmers.

Armed herders at the conservancy on the borders of Laikipia and Baringo counties are reported to have carried out an extensive arson attack opening fire on staff including the co-manager of the concervancy.

The vocal MCA was arrested in Kabarnet on Thursday afternoon by detectives and transferred to Nakuru for further questioning.

His Lawyer Kipkemboi Sirma said he was not sure of the charges that would be preferred on him.

He expressed fears that his client might be transferred to unknown police station in Laikipia before being arraigned in a Nyahururu court on Friday.

RESTORE PEACE

Farmers in Laikipia have welcomed the government-led operation to restore order on their farms after losing property and lives

The farmers said the worsening security situation in western Laikipia required the sustained attention to avoid further loss of life and destruction of private property.

Laikipia Farmers’ Association chairman Martin Evans said the attack at the conservancy was a clear indication of the need for a sustained security operation in the region.

The association’s membership includes 58 enterprises drawn from private investors, community group ranches, land owners, property managers, and businesses.

“We continue to support effective operations, and stand ready to help the authorities in any way they require,” Mr Evans said in a statement sent to newsrooms.

He added, “Assuming the reports from Laikipia Nature Conservancy are accurate, then it is clear that a significant number of crimes were committed there Wednesday – trespass, holding illegal firearms, arson and destruction of private property, even attempted murder.”

ANIMAL LOSE

The conservancy’s director Kuki Gallman, a re-known conservationist and author, said that they had been unable to access the 100, 000 acre facility after extended gunfire between herders and security forces.

She said the Laikipia Nature Conservancy had no role in the alleged shooting of animals at her facility by security officers.
She said it was obvious to them that they would never ask the police to do something, such as killing pastoralists’ cattle that would immediately provoke the kind of retaliation they saw Wednesday.

“The conservancy is ready to continue the extensive efforts we have already made to ease tensions and calm the situation as national security personnel seek to disarm and disperse illegal trespassers together with their livestock from LNC,” she said in a statement.

Ms Sveva Gallmann, who co-manages Laikipia Nature Conservancyalongside her mother, Kuki, said they were devastated by the violence that had erupted around them.

“Yesterday evening our operations buildings and our house came under direct gunfire from armed men – my nine-month-old daughter was in the house with her maids and I was shot at three times as I ran between the buildings to get to her,” she added.

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