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State official orders ‘visiting herders’ to leave after killings

 

zejwpe2m09rkdajyhc599c7bcf78fa3 State official orders ‘visiting herders’ to leave after killings
Residents of Pandanguo village in Witu, Lamu County, move to safer places on Monday. [Jane Mugambi,Standard]

All herders who are not natives to the county have been ordered to leave immediately.

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Speaking at a security meeting between farmers and herders in Witu on Monday, County Commissioner Gilbert Kitiyo said all herders who came from other counties to graze their animals were no longer welcome.

The decision was reached after local herders claimed the “visiting herders” were responsible for the recent killing of farmers in Lamu.

“I have ordered all herders who are grazing and are not from the county to leave immediately” said Kitiyo on Monday.

He said the Lamu security team was ready and would deal with those responsible for killing residents.

Ndolo Karisa claimed last Thursday’s attack in which four farmers were beheaded was a revenge raid on farmers after herders were compelled to pay thousands of shillings for grazing on farmland.

He said the 48 hours given by the Government was enough for the herders to leave after county officials established that Al-Shabaab militants were not behind the attacks.

“I blame security officials for allowing the herders to settle and move from one place to the other without surveillance,” said Mr Karisa.

Charo Katana, who lost two relatives in one attack, said the problem came when ‘outsiders’ were allowed to settle without establishing their backgrounds.

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Mr Katana also asked the security team what his family was supposed to do after farmers were told to vacate their farms and move to the Katsakairo Dispensary camp, where more than 2,000 families have settled.

“You want me to move from my farm to a camp while herders remain behind; who will gives us security? I know who killed my relatives and where they moved to,” he said.

Last month, a contingent of security personnel was deployed to the expansive Boni Forest to hunt for Al-Shabaab terrorists who had killed three police officers and burned down a police post.

Villagers said there were explosions as the security teams continued to pursue the gang of 150 that had raided the post and stolen guns and medicine. 

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