Kenya: Tension in Maai Mahiu As Trouble Brews Between Pastoralists, Villagers Over Livestock

20 October 2020

Trouble is brewing at Maai Mahiu in Naivasha after a group of villagers took away about 72 heads of cattle belonging to the pastoralist community as part of a revenge mission.

They drove the animals to Maai Mahiu police station, claiming that they will only release the animals to the owners after recovery of 12 goats that residents say were stolen from them on Sunday night.

The move by the villagers has sparked tension between the two communities, forcing Naivasha Deputy County Commissioner Kisilu Mutua to intervene.

"It was a very unfortunate incident that happened under police watch. We cannot allow jungle law to take root," warned the administrator.

The herders now claim that more than 100 animals, not 72, were driven away and are demanding compensation for the missing cattle.

"We are still trying to establish how many animals were driven away and investigations are ongoing," said the administrator.

Stern warning

Mr Mutua issued a stern warning to all those involved in the incident, saying they will be arrested and taken to court.

"We are looking for the people involved in taking away the animals ... they must face the law," said the administrator.

He called on security agencies to rein in criminal activity in the area, especially cattle raids that have caused perennial clashes between the two communities.

The villagers have been pointing an accusing finger at the herders over theft of numerous animals. Mr Mutua was categorical that those involved in the raids were criminals.

Several villagers who spoke to the Nation accused the police of laxity, claiming cases of animal theft within Maai Mahiu area were on the rise.

"The villagers acted in response to a series of animal thefts in the area, hence the decision to drive the animals found in the grazing fields to the police station," said a resident.

Previous similar incidents have led to bloody clashes between the two neighbouring communities.

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