14 villagers killed in latest Kenya cattle raid

By Jeremy Clarke

NAIROBI, May 2 (Reuters) - Livestock raiders in a remote part of northwestern Kenya have killed 14 people, including eight children, in the latest outbreak of deadly cattle rustling, police said on Wednesday.

Attackers armed with AK-47 rifles stormed the Lokwamosing area in the Turkana region, one of Kenya's many arid rural outposts where clans fight for scant resources and bloody livestock raids are frequent.

"The raiders stole around 1,900 animals and killed 14 people ... police response was slow and ineffective because it was an unanticipated attack in extremely rough terrain during rainy season," police spokesman Eric Kiraithe said.

The attack underscores the difficulty Kenya has in policing its remote northern regions, which for years under colonial rule were restricted areas of forbidding and hostile terrain, with almost no infrastructure or roads.

"There were only eight police at the local post against 200 attackers. There was a gunfight that killed 29 animals in the crossfire ... many police are now in pursuit," Kiraithe said.

Politicians from the regions have long complained that the sparsely populated region has been neglected by successive governments since independence from Britain in 1963.

Cattle rustling among tribes in northern Kenya has mushroomed, changing from a traditional male warrior ritual seen by locals as a game to a commercial business fuelled by easy access to automatic weapons from regional conflicts.

It occurs sporadically along nearly all of Kenya's borders, which often complicates any kind of law enforcement as the frontiers transcend lands traditionally fought over by rival tribes.


Reuters - Thomson Reuters Foundation
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