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Tana Delta: Tension as cattle die

20 July 2012, 10:43 Alloys Musyoka

Tension is high at Tarasaa location in Tana Delta district after about 8 cattle died which the pastoralists community claimed they were poisoned by farmers in the area.

The pastoralists claim that their cattle started dying one after another a day after they had gone to graze them near a disputed lands along Lake Shakababo.

Addressing journalists in Malindi their spokesman Abdulkadir Abdulahi said there has been tension for several weeks in the area between the pastoralists communities and farmers over disputed grazing areas.

Abdulahi lamented that since they had been bad blood between the two communities and that their cattle started dying after grazing on the disputed land he said farmers must have poisoned grasses which were consumed by their cattle causing their deaths.

“Farmers from this area are the ones who poisoned our cattle because of a land they claim we are not supposed to graze yet the area is dry. We can only get good  pastures for cattle along lakes and rivers which they refuse us,” he noted.

He said due to long dry season that has hit the area pastoralist communities are forced to take their cattle to Lake Shakababo for water and grazing along the lake although they face a lot of opposition from farmers in the area.

Pastoralist want the government to intervene since tension is high and also they want compensation of their dead animals either by the government or by farmers who poisoned them.

They claimed that their efforts to get assistance from government officers in the area have always been fruitless since many of them come from the other community siding with farmers.

But Garsen South counselor Ben Maneno disputed the claims saying the cattle were not poisoned but only consumed treated water melons plants from the area.

The civic leaders said the several cattle had died not because they were poisoned by farmers in the area but some of the pastoralist communities had grazed their cattle at farms where farmers had treated their water melon along Lake Shakababo.
He said the area is mainly used by farmers to grow food crop especially during dry season in order to counter issues of hunger which had for many years been a challenge in the area.

“Farmers had treated their watermelon plants with pesticides before cattle were grazed and that is what has caused the death of the cattle,” he added.

Maneno went further to add that issues of tension which was in the area few days ago had been solved through district officer, district commissioner and other government officers together with locals.

“We have been holding peace meetings and everything is well. With the issue of the cattle it is our hope that we will settle it down peacefully,” he said.

Tana Delta Acting district commissioner Anthony Macharia said that they are encouraging the two communities in the area to accommodate each other.

“We have been encouraging them to stay peaceful and accommodate each other but you know these two communities are always having disputes because of grazing land. One community want the land to graze the other one want the same land to grow crops and it become difficult some times to understand these people but we try our best,” he quipped.


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