Kenya

Pastoralists want livestock insurance bond suspended

Elders from the Pokot, Turkana and Marakwet pastoral communities want the government to suspend livestock insurance bonds meant as compensation for stolen animals, arguing that they promote cattle raids and banditry in the region.

They instead want warring communities to cooperate and find peaceful strategies of recovering stolen animals and combat recurrent armed conflict that has claimed several lives and displaced thousands of families.

More than 100 people have been killed and hundreds of livestock stolen in the past six months in renewed attacks and runaway insecurity.

Pokot council of elders chairperson John Muok said communities should embrace goodwill and return stolen livestock in order to stamp out cattle raids along the borders of the counties.

“The issuing of bonds is contributing to rampant cattle raids because they know that we will give them a bond,” said Mr Muok.

He said the attacks are no longer about cattle raids but disputes over the sharing of natural resources.

“These conflicts are not related to cattle raids but land disputes and the government should take urgent measures to resolve them,” said Mzee Muok in Kokwo Kalya village during a peace rally.

He faulted Marakwet elders, claiming they were supporting banditry and cattle rustling.

“It is wrong for some leaders to incite communities who have been staying in harmony to start burning houses,” said Mr Muok.

Mzee Emanuel Karwatai, from the Marakwet community, warned against inciting locals to cause political violence.

He asked security personnel on the borders of the four counties to arrest suspects involved in cattle rustling.

“The suspects need to be locked up until their cases are heard and determined to act as a lesson to individuals who engage in unlawful activities,” said Mzee Karwatai.

Mr James Kilimo called on security forces to be proactive and beef up security to avert further attacks and killings.

Pokot Central Sub-County Commissioner Jeremiah Tumoh said police officers and peace committees have put measures in place to search for stolen cattle and recover them.

“This is a good indication of reliable community policing and Nyumba Kumi initiatives in the communities,” said Mr Tumoh.

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