Kenya: Cattle raiding in Baringo County
The Immortal Raiders of Baringo
Interventions from the Kenyan government have been seen by residents to yield more conflict in the cattle rustling torn area of Baringo South, flooring speculation that the continued raids are a daring message to the government.
Constant accusations of aggression by the neighboring Pokot Community, said to invade Endorois ancestral lands who are a minority and indigenous community, and causing loss of lives, destruction of property and armed livestock theft has become an unrelenting concern. This uncontrolled insurgence has even taken place when government security forces are visiting the area in an effort to seek peace intervention at the community level.
This is why the sporadic nature of cattle rustling in Baringo South is perceived by residents, to be statements of disregard to the government’s capacity to counter the aggressive community. Cattle rustlers are yielding power after each encounter, treading the same grounds high level government officials pace, as if daring the officials to catch them.
This is unsettling for the residents who cite the recent cattle rustling raids in Chemorong’nyon, Kasiela and Lomoiywet villages that occurred just as the Interior and regional coordination, Cabinet Secretary Hon. Joseph Nkaiseri, Deputy Inspector General, Samuel Arachi, Kenya National Commission for Human Rights commissioner George Morara and the Baringo County Commissioner Peter Okwanyo were in the area carrying out a public inquiry on insecurity. Their conspicuous presence did not stop raiders from the Pokot community to attack the Endorois in the same area, killing two people and stealing sixty herds of cattle.
It begs the question; are the aggressors being protected by the same government officials? Or do they attack as such a time to prove that the government lacks capacity to challenge them?
“Over time political leaders and government security forces alike have been making speeches in condemnation, yet no action has taken place so far”, says Mr. Wilson Kipkazi, the Chief Executive Officer, Endorois Welfare Council.
He adds that, “for instance the Baringo County Commissioner Mr. Okwanyo is on record on Tuesday 10th May 2016 at Marigat township, calling on the Endorois people to go back to their vacated homes saying: ‘Security has been restored and that there was no threat any more in the area’.”
Ironically an attack on the Endorois community was carried out by suspected Pokot raiders on the same day where herds of livestock were stolen. The Endorois welfare council is worried that such unfortunate incidences are disregarding the governments capacity to offer a lasting solution, denying the minority community of the Endorois their right to life, human dignity, freedom and security as enshrined in the constitution.
The CEO demands that the Independent Election and Boundaries Commission should clearly demarcate the boundaries of the two communities and place security agencies along the border lines to deter Pokot insurgents and expansionist ideas. The security forces are compelled to recover stolen livestock and arrest the criminals.
Even as the waters seem calm, the periodic nature of cattle rustling attacks have shown that quiet does not mean peace, and therefore security forces need to take sustained efforts towards curbing the insecurity menace in the area.
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