What you need to know:
- Elders from the two counties, supported by Northern Rangelands Trust identified where the 47 animals were hidden.
- The elder said dialogue gives them hope that stolen animals could be traced and returned to the rightful owners.
- Mr Loibara praised the elders and expressed optimism that the remaining 23 cows will be recovered and handed back to him.
- Ms Josphine Ekiru said NRT will continue engaging the elders in the search for the remaining cows.
Some 47 herd of cattle stolen from Tiamamut village in Laikipia County have been recovered and handed over to the owner, thanks to a dialogue between Samburu and Maasai elders.
The cows recovered in Learata, Samburu County are part of the 83 which had been stolen by armed raiders from Mr Loibara Ole Mosiany’s manyatta at the border of Isiolo and Laikipia on the night of July 25.
Immediate joint efforts by the police and rangers from Naibung’a Community Conservancy only helped recover 13 cows and four donkeys two days later.
But it took dialogue between elders from the two counties and support from the Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT), an organisation that supports community conservancies, to identify where the 47 animals were hidden.
The talks and search operation began on August 8 and took the elders, rangers and security team 21 days to recover the cattle.
Forcible seizure ineffective
During the handover in Tiamamut village, Lenanyankera Ndiba, a Samburu elder, stressed on need for dialogue in recovery of stolen livestock, noting that forcible seizure is normally ineffective.
He said use of firearms and force by police in recovery efforts in most cases results to loss of lives and delays the repossession as the criminals quickly sell the animals at throw-away prices for fear of being jailed when arrested.
“I immediately joined the search team when we heard that footprints of the stolen animals had been traced in Learata and helped convene a series of meetings that made the recovery successful,” said Mr Ndiba.
The elder said dialogue gives them hope that stolen animals could be traced and returned to the rightful owners and although it attracts some fines, it helps ensure peaceful coexistence among the warring communities.
After receiving his animals, an elated Mr Loibara praised the elders from the two communities and expressed optimism that the remaining 23 cows will be recovered and handed back to him.
“I am so happy that my cows have been recovered without fights and want to thank the elders and NRT for providing them with meals and accommodation and the vehicle for easy movement in search of the animals,” said Mr Loibara.
NRT Peace Coordinator Josphine Ekiru said the organisation will continue engaging the elders in the search for the remaining cows.
“Dialogue has proved efficient in recovery of stolen livestock in the past and we will continue supporting elders in ensuring repossession without affecting the ties between neighbouring communities,” said Ms Ekiru.
She appealed to elders from Laikipia and Samburu to take a leading role in peace building campaigns and reject politicians fuelling enmity between the two communities that have lived in peace for many years.
Ms Ekiru said youths should be at the forefront in peace initiatives and refrain from involvement in crime, especially carrying out raids as in most cases, many end up being killed in the process.