The Laikipia County Security Committee met on Wednesday with Inspector-General of Police Joseph Boinnet in Nanyuki where they strategised how to deal with the matter that has threatened tourism in the region.
County Commissioner Onesmus Musyoki, who chairs the security committee, dispelled the reports that the county is unsafe, especially for tourists, saying that it was a case of isolated incidents that have already been addressed.
A security committee in Laikipia has played down reports of insecurity in the county after the British government issued a travel warning to its citizens following recent invasions of private ranches by herders.
“Laikipia is safe and the British government was wrong to issue a warning on Laikipia. It is true there have been a few incidents but they are manageable and have been controlled and security restored,” said Mr Musyoki.
He noted that teams of police officers have already set camp in the affected areas and an operation launched to drive out the herders.
Among the affected ranches are Suyia Kivuku, Mugie, Laikipia Nature Conservancy and Suyian ranch in Laikipia North. A lodge at Suyian ranch was burnt down at the weekend and one herder was shot dead during a fire exchange with police.
Mr Musyoki said that order had been restored at Suyian but operations are ongoing in the other three ranches.
“Teams from the National Police and Kenya Wildlife Services are on the ground trying to drive out the herders,” he said. He said that talks are ongoing between private ranch owners, the Kenya Tourism Board and security bodies to work out a lasting solution that will see coexistence among communities and ranchers.
Kenya Tourism Board Chairman UK government over the travel warning, saying the situation had been exaggerated. “We have had a few incidents but truth is the authorities have worked to restore calm ,” said Mr Kariuki.
Meanwhile, five anti-stock theft officers who were guarding Suyian ranch have pulled out.
The officers were deployed in the ranch following invasion by herders in search of pasture and water for their livestock.
According to one of the officers, they decided to pull out because of the overwhelming number of herders, who were flocking the ranch while armed with rifles and other crude weapons.
“We had managed to control the situation on Sunday night. However, the invaders are becoming too many now and we can’t handle the situation anymore,” the officer who requested anonymity said. “Five officers cannot deal with more than 150 men armed with assault rifles,” said the officer.