By Boaz Kipngeno
Samburu: The beautiful valleys and hills covered by thick shrubs as observed from Baragoi trading centre may not reveal the hidden danger. But perhaps the amount of money that the national and county government and other non-governmental organisations have spent after deadly battles can not be quantified.
Millions are spent in efforts to end the cattle rustling culture, treat casualties and feed the displaced residents.
More money that could be directed to development projects too end up in peace initiatives.
The anticipation for the new Constitution to address historical injustices through devolution may be slowly fading away more so in Samburu County, which is surrounded by pastoralist communities that have made a career stealing livestock from every corner.
The raids between the Pokot, Samburu and Turkana communities in Baragoi are depriving Samburu County of its development progress.
In Baragoi, lives have been lost, women have become widows and thousands thrown to the cold bushes as hunger becomes inevitable.
Residents have never known peace; the regular sounds of gunshots and wails have become routine to their ears.
This rogue culture behavior has not only proved uncontrollable, but also a costly one. Apart from Sh88 million project, Samburu North Integrated Livelihood and Food Security that Kenya Red Cross Society initiated last year in Baragoi’s Kurungu village, another Sh25 million was spent last year in assisting the displaced and in treating the injured victims.
The project is aimed at creating an alternative source of livelihood for the locals after the decade long rustling between Turkana and Samburu.
Last year, 216 people were killed and 213 others injured in cattle rustling incident, according to Kenya Red Cross Society. Samburu County’s Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) Coordinator, Mugambi Gitonga, says 41 were killed between January and May and 175 others killed between June and December. Over 10,000 others from 1,735 households were displaced and pitched tents in various camps within the region between November and December when clashes heightened between Samburu and Turkana communities.
According to Gitonga, KRCS provided the displaced locals with tents, blankets, utensils and other non-food items worth Sh14 million. More....