10 killed in suspected cattle rustling in northern Kenya

A young Turkana man armed with an AK-47 rifle [ Photo-IRIN]

At least ten people were killed and several others injured on Saturday in a clash between herders and suspected cattle rustlers in Samburu County, police confirmed on Sunday.

Samburu County Commander Alfred Agengo said the attack occurred at around 9 a.m. Saturday when a group of herders grazing livestock were ambushed by heavily armed men at Lopurio area.

Agengo said no livestock was stolen during the deadly clash after unknown raiders attacked herders as they grazed cattle in the area.

Police in the area said locals teamed up with National Police Reservists and repulsed the attackers, killing six of them. Four herders were also believed to be killed.

“The aggressors were scattered and ran for their safety … Patrol has been intensified within the area and the situation is still tense,” Agengo said.

The suspects are believed to be from neighboring West Pokot and Baringo counties. Lopurio is located about 30 km away from Marti town along Maralal-Baragoi road.

Clashes between the rival cattle herding pastoralists are common in northern Kenya, with herders often carrying guns to protect their animals, but the recent fighting has been unusually heavy.

Livestock herding is the main source of income in northern and some parts of eastern Kenya, and police say cattle thefts threaten to ignite cross-community reprisals and raids that could set the stage for a surge in ethnic fighting.

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