Nomadic herders have killed wildlife and torched buildings but questions remain over the causes of the violence
Thursday 2 February 2017 07.00 GMT Last modified on Thursday 2 February 2017 12.18 GMT
Thousands of heavily-armed herders are invading conservancies, private properties and smallholdings in Laikipia, one of Kenya’s most important wildlife areas, as they search for pasture for their cattle.
Over the past couple of weeks, about 10,000 nomadic herders, armed with automatic rifles and driving 135,000 cattle, have left a trail of destruction and chaos in the county, just three hours drive from Nairobi. The herders have indiscriminately killed wildlife – from elephants, giraffes, zebras and lions to family dogs. Residents have been injured, some seriously. At least one person has been killed, according to reports.
This is just the latest but most serious clash between the herders and the residents of Laikipia, after a series of incursions dating back at least a few years. This time private game lodges, ranches and smallholdings owned by farmers are being targeted systematically. David Mwaweu, who owns a small farm, said that armed herdsmen passed his way as they marched towards private land where they have since been “stealing grass for their cows”.
“When they came here they stole half of my goats and their cows ate my fields,” he said.