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Kenya vows to restore security in the volatile northern frontier districts

Kenya will deploy additional security personnel in the northern frontier districts that have experienced insecurity occasioned by cattle rustling, inter-tribal skirmishes and invasion of private ranches, officials said on Monday.

Cabinet Secretary for Internal Security, Joseph Nkaissery told reporters in Nairobi that the government will deal firmly with criminal elements involved in cattle raids, poaching and killing of civilians in Baringo, Elgeyo Marakwet and Laikipia counties.

“We have substantially increased the number of police officers and reservists to bolster security in counties grappling with cattle rustling, murder, destruction of property and poaching,” said Nkaissery.

His remarks came in the wake of killing of a dual British/Kenyan national, Tristan Voorspuy on Sunday by armed herders in the expansive Sosian Ranch which he co-owned.

The Sosian ranch which is located in Laikipia County is the latest epicenter of clashes between big land owners and pastoralists over water and pasture.

Nkaissery said the security agencies have been instructed to flush out herders who have illegally occupied private ranches in Laikipia.

“So far, illegal grazers have been cleared from sixteen ranches and the director of criminal investigations is leading a probe aimed at apprehending those inciting them to commit the criminal act,” said Nkaissery.

Kenya has been on the global spotlight since mid-February when inter-tribal skirmishes, cattle rustling and invasion of private ranches by herders escalated.

Nkaissery blamed severe drought that and attendant competition for scarce water and pasture for escalating the conflict.

He at the time noted that criminal elements have taken advantage of the volatile situation in drought hit northern frontier districts to engage in banditry and poaching.

Nkaissery said that action will be taken against political leaders who incite local communities to occupy private ranches that are a major source of tourism revenue.

He revealed police have far arrested 379 illegal grazers in Laikipia County while additional police camps have been established in Baringo and Elgeyo Marakwet to bolster security.

On his part, Kenya’s cabinet secretary for tourism, Najib Balala said insecurity in the northern frontier districts bode ill for the country’s reputation as a prized destination for international travelers.

“We are closely monitoring the volatile security situation in the northern parts of the country and have enhanced inter-agency collaboration to minimize risks to the tourism sector,” said Balala.

Rising insecurity in Kenya’s vast and arid northern region ahead of August 8 general elections has worried investors and bilateral partners.

Pundits warned that tribal tensions and increased cases of banditry could undermine economic growth and peaceful political transition in the east African nation.

©Alleastafrica and Xinhua

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