Chaos has rocked Rumuruti town in Laikipia County after farmers clashed with herders, accusing them of illegal grazing in Marura area.
Residents Tuesday paralysed business in the busy town as they chased away pastoralists who had come to the Rumuruti livestock market.
The protesting locals barricaded the Nyahururu-Rumuruti-Maralal road and set ablaze several motorcycles suspected to belong to the herders.
Those interviewed by the Nation said the herders were forcibly entering their farms, allowing their animals to feed on maize plantations and destroying potato crops.
“They are doing this with impunity and they are armed with bows and arrows. Some even have guns. Before they infiltrate this area and cause the chaos they are causing in Ol Moran, we have to chase them away,” a resident, Paul Githinji, told the Nation.
Rumuruti town business community association chairman Frederick Mwangi said that the herders have been in the area for close to two weeks and that they have gradually been allowing their animals to destroy crops.
"For the last two weeks the herders have been invading our farms and are currently pitching camps in Marura area. Already, hundreds of acres of maize plantations have been destroyed," said Mr Mwangi, adding that they fear that the herders could cause insecurity in the area.
A farmer, Charles Mbatiah, said that on Tuesday morning that a resident, who was part of the team that was driving away herds of cattle that had invaded maize plantations in the area, was attacked by the armed herders who had machetes and rungus.
“Another farmer who had gone to the area to pick farm produce on his motorcycle was attacked and the motorcycle destroyed,” Mr Mbatiah added.
Rumuruti Township MCA Kipruto Suge said that the attack of the two prompted protests from locals who paralysed normal activities in the busy town.
The locals later went to the Rumuruti livestock market and flushed out those who had brought livestock for sale.
Some motorcycles belonging to the herders were set ablaze by angry locals in ravage.
"The situation in this area is currently tense, and our people are living in fear due to the frequent attacks and farm invasions by the armed herders. We are calling for speedy action by the government before the matter gets out of hand.
“We don't want a replica of what is happening in the neighbouring Ol Moran Ward to happen here," said the ward rep.
Ms Lucy Njeri, another resident, said that the government should ensure that herders fleeing from the security operation in the troubled Ol Moran area and the Laikipia Nature Conservancy do not seek refuge in the area.
Mr Suge said that Rumuruti is a cosmopolitan area and urged every community living there to respect private property.
"What is happening here might create animosity between the communities around here. This area has been peaceful all through and, therefore, we urge our brothers from the neighbouring counties to respect private property," he said.