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Leaders from N. Kenya vow to fight cattle rustling, terrorism

08 January 2015, 09:37

Nairobi - Leaders from seven counties in northern Kenya on Wednesday declared support for the fight against terrorism and banditry that is to blame for rampant poverty and social exclusion.

Speaking at the closing of a consultative forum in Nairobi, the leaders from Turkana, West Pokot, Baringo, Samburu, Laikipia, Isiolo and Marsabit counties endorsed a joint communique to promote security and peace.

"The national government will engage the leadership of counties affected by insecurity to promote peace through sustainable interventions like development projects and youth empowerment," Cabinet Secretary (CS) for Internal Security Joseph Nkaissery said.

Political and civic leaders from counties in northern Kenya pledged support towards government's initiatives to promote security and lasting peace.

They endorsed a raft of resolutions that focus on enhanced community policing and investments in livelihood projects to eradicate banditry and terrorism.

The Ministry of Internal Security will partner with civic leaders to sensitize pastoral communities on the need to coexist peacefully and refrain from cattle rustling.

The CS said the government would also carry out some "research" in order to identify those behind the illegal enterprise and bring them to book.

"The government will involve community leaders in the northern region to address the underlying causes of insecurity including poverty, incitement and youth unemployment," Nkaissery said.

Also read: Cattle rustlers risk life sentence, MPs warn

Communities in northern Kenya have been feuding for many years over cattle rustling and search for pastures including water points since both are pastoralists.

"The state will invest in irrigation projects, community conservancies, schools and roads to open up the marginalized regions. We have committed resources to promote peace building in the strife torn counties," said Nkaissery.

Kenya has developed a legal and policy framework to promote involvement of communities and political leaders in management of security.

The Chair of Parliamentary committee on security Asman Kamama said elected leaders are working closely with the government to boost security at the grassroots.

Livestock herding is the main livelihood and source of income in northern and some parts of eastern Kenya, and the hike in cattle thefts threatens to ignite cross-community reprisals and raids that could set the stage for a surge in ethnic fighting in the region.

Clashes between the rival cattle herding pastoralists in the region are common, with herders often carrying guns to protect their animals, but the recent fighting has been unusually heavy.

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- Xinhua


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