The British ambassador to Kenya held a crisis meeting with security officials in Laikipia on Monday as tension in the county remained high following the shooting of world famous conservationist Kuki Gallmann.
Mr Nic Hailey’s visit took place as elders called for arrest of opposition leader Raila Odinga “for inciting herders”.
After the meeting with County Commissioner Onesmas Musyoki and police officers in Nanyuki Town, the envoy blamed politicians for the violence.
Laikipia hosts hundreds of British soldiers and investors.
“Young people, especially men, are being misused by politicians. They occupy private land and end up destroying property,” he said.
The British Government also promised to support development of the livestock industry in northern Kenya as way of creating jobs.
Without disclosing the amount that would be channelled to the project, Mr Hailey said his government was one of the biggest donors to Kenya, spending up to Sh40 billion every year on various projects.
“Meat production has the potential to grow the local economy but violence will destroy such plans,” the diplomat said.
At Laikipia Nature Conservancy and Sosian Ranch where attacks took place on Sunday, tension was still palpable.
Mr John Eleman, a Sosian resident, said there was little activity at the ranch after the Sunday evening attack.
“Tension is high but security officers are patrolling the area,” he told the Nation.
HUNT DOWN RAIDERS
Rift Valley Regional Coordinator Wanyama Musiambo and Mr Musyoki said more security officers had been sent to the area to hunt down the raiders.
The administrators said the officers had driven out almost all illegal grazers from conservancies and ranches in Laikipia.
“The operation to flush out the illegal grazers and find firearms is ongoing. The government is committed to restoring sanity and order,” Mr Musiambo said.
Meanwhile, the Rift Valley Council of Elders has called for the arrest of Mr Odinga.
The elders accused the Orange Democratic Movement leader and Laikipia North MP Mathew Lempurkel of inciting the pastoralists.
SHOT IN STOMACH
Council chairman Gilbert Kabage linked the recent visit to the area by Mr Odinga to the attack on the Italian-born conservationists. She was shot in the stomach.
Mr Kabage said Mr Odinga incited herders when he said the ongoing security operation in Laikipia County was inhuman because it targeted them.
Mr Odinga was quoted as saying the officers were torturing pastoralists and killing their animals indiscriminately.
“We ask the government to arrest the opposition leaders for telling pastoralists to invade farms,” Mr Kabage told journalists in Nakuru Town on Monday.
He gave Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery a week to arrest the two but did not specify the action the elders would take if the minister failed to do so.
Hours after the shooting, Mr Odinga termed the raid unfortunate, and said ranchers deserved protection.
Reported by Eric Matara, Steve Njuguna and Mwangi Ndirangu