Kajiado residents decry rising cases of livestock theft

recovered animals

Some of the stolen animals which were recovered from Nkiito village, Kajiado West sub-County on July 3, 2024. 

Photo credit: Stanley Ngotho | Nation Media Group

Residents of Nkiito village, Kajiado West sub-County, are angry over rampant cattle rustling in the past three weeks.

The agitated residents claim to have lost 70 sheep and 16 cows in three separate incidents in what they believe to be a well-orchestrated scheme by a cattle rustling gang.

In one incident, thieves struck in the middle of the night at two homesteads in Nkiito village and made away with all her livestock. 

 “A widow was left without a single animal. This is so inhumane considering that we are trying to replenish our herds after losing livestock due to the recent drought," said Nkiito sub-Location Assistant Chief David Teeka.

In another incident captured on closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras, two male suspects are seen driving away 16 animals from a compound at around midnight last Wednesday, having secretly entered the compound earlier in the day.

The animals were recovered the following day after an intensive search of the grazing areas by residents accompanied by police officers from Isinya Police Station. A male suspect was arrested after being waylaid by angry locals with some of the stolen animals.

Although the area is in Kajiado West sub-County, locals report to Isinya Police Station in Kajiado East Sub-County due to its proximity.

The stolen animals are believed to have a ready market in Kajiado satellite towns and Nairobi's Dagoretti and Kiamaiko livestock markets. Between 2022 and 2023, at least 1,000 animals are reported to have been stolen.

In 2022, herders in Isinya sub-County claimed to have lost 388 goats and 77 cows with an estimated value of Sh17 million. Over the years, Isinya and Mashuru sub-Counties have borne the brunt of livestock theft. The county government's restrictions on the night transport of livestock to prevent livestock theft in recent years appear to have been overlooked by livestock traders.

The local administration has put the police officers manning the roadblocks on the Kitengela-Isinya and Isinya-Kiserian roads on the spot for allegedly colluding with the cattle rustlers.

"We are baffled as to how the animals are being stolen and transported past police roadblocks at night. Something is amiss," said Mr Teeka, adding that the villagers have started night vigils to prevent further livestock theft.

Isinya sub-County Police Commander Patrick Manyasi said the reported cases were being investigated.

"We are investigating the reported cases. I urge members of the public to volunteer information to the police. Some of the cases are inside jobs," Mr Manyasi said.

Kajiado County's livestock sector has an annual turnover of Sh3.2 billion with more than 110,000 head of cattle sold in a year at the main markets of Ilbissil, Kimana, Emali and Shompole.