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State says 60,000 cattle removed from Laikipia ranches

The government now says it has managed to move out about 60,000 cattle which had been forcefully driven into ranches and private farms in Laikipia West, North and East constituencies.

According to Laikipia County Commissioner Onesmus Musyoki, over 150 people have also been arrested and arraigned in court for illegal grazing and destruction of property.

However, despite the government’s claims, ranchers insist the invasions still continue despite promises by authorities to contain them.

But according to the county commissioner, who spoke to the Nation in his office, the situation in parts of the county has been contained and calm restored.

“The situation in parts of the county that had been invaded by herders is not as volatile as people have been portraying. Calm and peace has been restored,” he said.

However, he admitted that the situation in Mugie, Suyian and Kifuko ranches remains serious, but promised that the issue is being dealt with.

SECURITY INCREASED

“Security personnel are on the ground dealing with the illegal herders who have invaded private ranches and farms and I want to assure residents that calm will be restored,” the county commissioner promised.

There has been conflicts between herders from Samburu, Isiolo, Turkana, Baringo and West Pokot and owners of private farms and ranches in various parts of the country.

Herders desperate to save their starving animals have forced their way into the vast ranches, sometimes causing destruction.

Mr Musyoki advised those seeking pasture in the vast ranches and private farms to first seek the consent of the owners.

GRAZING AGREEMENTS

On the other hand, he asked land owners to follow set procedures and involve the security personnel before allowing herders into their farms.

“It is very wrong for ranch owners to enter into grazing agreements with herders without involving security agencies and later start blaming the government when the situation gets out of hand,” said the administrator.

“This has greatly jeopardised the government’s effort to evict the herders. I want to urge ranchers and other farm owners to follow due procedure when entering into such agreements,” he cautioned.

FINGERS POINTED AT LEMPURKEL

Meanwhile, a section of elders have accused Laikipia North MP Mathew Lempurkel of working with legislators from Samburu County to incite herders to invade ranches in the county.

Led by Mr Samson ole Montu, the elders accused the lawmaker of inciting the herders to invade ranches owned by white settlers.

However, the MP has denied the claims terming them propaganda by his political rivals.

“This is propaganda that my political rivals are intending to use to bring me down. These are baseless claims and they should be ignored,” Mr Lempurkel told the Nation by phone.

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