At least five people have been killed and seven others injured in the past two days in cattle rustling incident in Isiolo, Samburu County of northern Kenya, police and a relief agency said on Saturday.
Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) Samburu County Coordinator Gitonga Mugambi said the attack at Koom village along Samburu- Borana border in Isiolo also saw cattle rustlers kill seven cattle and stole more than 400 others.
“The clashes involving two communities from both counties started on Thursday evening where two youth from Samburu were killed and on Friday morning where three Boranas were killed,” Mugambi told Xinhua.
He said among the injured were two people from Samburu community and five Boranas. Mugambi said a group from one community crossed the border, raided the other before making away with more than 400 heads of livestock.
“Tension is high in the area although security has been beefed up on the ground. There are also meetings between local leaders from the rival communities going on,” he said.
Samburu County Police Commandant Patrick Wambani said they will ensure the stolen livestock is recovered, appealing for calm and warning leaders against inciting residents.
“We have sent more police officers to restore calm in the area as pursue the attackers. We will also recover the stolen animals,” Wambani said.
Cattle rustling by nomadic tribes in the semiarid region that encompasses northern Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan and Ethiopia is common, and the tribes in the area do not respect national borders.
A drought that has impoverished some people in the area, most of them nomads, has exacerbated tensions between the communities.
Mugambi said Koom is the only place in the two countries where there is pastures and water, noting that they suspect the conflict might have started in a watering point.
Mugambi said the conflicts between the two communities have often being sparked by competition for water and pasture.
“The watering point belongs to Boranas who do not want to allow Samburus to water their animals. The place is drying off and lack of pasture is a source of conflict in this region,” Mugambi said.
Northern Kenya has been experiencing one of the worst continued inter-clan feuds, worsened by cattle rustling and dispute over pasture and fuelled by historical land differences.