GARISSA—As the ongoing drought pushes more pastoralists deep into areas where water and pasture for their livestock is available, conflict with the host communities is growing by the day.
In just less than a week, the farmers in Kitui and Meru counties have raised alarm over what they termed as “invasion” by the camel herders. The conflict also brewed between herders from Garissa and Marsabit.
On Monday, residents of Tigania East area demanded for the expulsion of the camel herders saying the animals were destroying their crops. One local woman died in the melee, a statement by the area police said.
There is a growing tension in Kitui County after a legislator launched a five-day incitement campaign against camel herders in the area.https://t.co/UHmzL9o40t
— Kulan Post (@kulanpost) October 21, 2022
The Meru incident was preceded by an incitement campaign led by the Kitui East MP, Nimrod Mbai who accused the herders of “killing the locals.”Abdirashid Hussein, a peace and security expert told Kulan Post that Frontier Counties Development Council (FCDC) should take lead on the urgent mitigation measures using the peace, cohesion and conflict management framework as signed by all member counties.
“There is [an]urgent need to collaborate to de-escalate the situation and sign a cooperation agreement between the host communities where the harders have gone to look for pasture,” noted the immediate former deputy County Secretary and head of operation on peace and security for Garissa.
He added that the arbitrary raid of camels by the host communities should stop while on the other hand, the harders must stop causing bodily and economic harm on the host communities.
“There’s a need for a national stakeholders meeting to resolve the situation and calm this unnecessary conflict before it gets out of hand,” Abdirashid observed.
Earlier today, elders drawn from Kitui County called on their counterparts from Garissa to organise for a meeting to end the conflict piting the Somali herders and Kamba farmers.
On the issue of border conflicts as a result of movement of livestock in search for pasture, the County Commissioner of Garissa Boaz Cherutich said that they will strengthen peace committees in affected areas so that they engage and sort out the issues before the conflicts escalate further.