Tharaka Nithi youths warned against stealing livestock from herders

Thirsty livestock in Tharaka

Thirsty livestock at a dry Gituma River in Tharaka constituency in Tharaka Nithi County on September 7, 2022.

Photo credit: Alex Njeru I Nation Media Group

Youths from the banditry-prone Tharaka North sub-county have been warned against stealing livestock from drought-stricken pastoralists from the neighbouring Isiolo and Marsabit counties.

The area Police Commander Kimanzi Mwangangi said the pastoralists have been reporting cases of missing livestock and investigations showed they were stolen by local youths.

Mr Mwangangi said groups of youths aged between 20 and 35 years were tormenting the desperate pastoralists who have left their counties in search of pasture and water due to drought and are herding their animals along the Meru-Tharaka-Nithi counties border.

“Investigations have established that some local youths aged between 20-35 years have capitalized on stealing livestock from the pastoralists resulting in frequent conflicts,” Mr Mwangangi told journalists.

He said while stealing is a crime, it is also ‘very’ bad to take advantage of the desperate situation of the herders who are not forcefully invading the residents' grazing fields.

He urged the locals to embrace the herders and live with them peacefully “since they are also Kenyans and are not invading their properties but hiring grazing fields.”

The police commander told the security officers and the administration to be vigilant to arrest and charge the suspected thieves.

Mr Mwangangi also warned against increased cases of mob justice in the region and asked the locals to always report crime suspects to the authorities.

The police boss said it is the role of the courts to determine whether a suspect is guilty or innocent but not the mob.

Cases of banditry attacks are common in Tharaka North especially during the dry spell when herders from Isiolo, Marsabit and Garissa counties flock the region in search of pasture and water.

Investigations by the security agencies have revealed most of the banditry attacks are mainly retaliatory after a series of theft by the locals.