Cases of cattle theft are on the rise in Laikipia County in what security agents believe is commercialization of the vice ahead of the festive season.
Sheep and goats are now the preference of the thieves where the animals are driven to neighbouring counties or loaded into vehicles to be sold to butchers.
Stolen animals are also being sold to unsuspecting traders along the Rumuruti-Maralal road by ‘young’ herders.
County Commissioner Joseph Kanyiri said more than 200 sheep and goats have been stolen in the last one week, but most of them have been recovered.
“On Monday, some 100 goats and sheep were stolen from Murera village near Rumuruti but later recovered at Ngaremara village in Sossian Ward by security officers and citizens. A similar number of animals were stolen last weekend at Muawarak village in Laikipia North Sub- County and later recovered near Kisima Township in Samburu County,” said Mr Kanyiri.
The administrator added that nine goats were also recovered on Tuesday by Ruai residents in Laikipia Central Sub- County who also burnt a car which was being used to ferry the animals to an unknown destination. The suspect was handed over to officers at the nearby police post during the 6 am incident.
Following the rising incidents, security officials have been put on the alert to arrest anyone found transporting animals at night.
“Anyone found ferrying livestock in a vehicle after 6 pm will be apprehended and prosecuted. The law states that animals should only be transported between 6 am and 6 pm with an authorization from the veterinary department,” said Mr Kanyiri.
Selling animals along highways has also been banned with the traders frequenting Rumuruti-Maralal road being warned that they now face arrest.
“No trader should buy the animals from the young morans along the highway since we suspect these are stolen sheep and goats. Interested buyers should only visit established livestock markets or approach the owner but not the youthful herders,” warned the administrator.