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Update on Isiolo/Samburu: must read

I’m posting reports that I’ve received in response to my earlier post, I’ve not verified the information but the sources appear credible and at the very least warrant further investigation.

Kenyan media. Again. Please step up. What the frick is going in in North Eastern Kenya?

Citizen reporters, please keep the info coming.


– On Tuesday, July 1, the Samburu community of Sera, population 300, was attacked by Somali and Borana forces as villagers slept. Sera is located approximately 83 miles NW of Archer’s Post in Samburu North. 15 people were shot in the attack, leaving 8 critically wounded and 5 dead, including a young girl. Over 1000 cattle were taken from 8 herds. The cattle, originating from the Samburu West community of Laisamis, had been herded through this area in search of a place to graze because of the widespread drought. The attacks were reminiscent of the February attacks by the Kenyan police which resulted in the loss of thousands of head of cattle. Similarly, large lorries and Landcruisers were used to transport the stolen cattle and raiders. There has been no investigation or response by the Kenyan authorities to recover the cattle or to arrest those responsible for the murders and injuries in this attack. The Samburu East MP Raphael Letimalo gave a press conference on 3rd July which has not yet been published in the Kenya press.

– On the evening of Monday July 6, Samburu moran warriors successfully defended their people and cattle from a similar raid SE of Lerata in Samburu East, the 2nd attack in just days. This attack occurred at the Nachamune area near the Ewaso River, 40 km east of Archers Post. Borana and Somali raiders surrounded the bomas at dusk, just after their livestock came into the boma, and began shooting at women and children. One group of moran escorted all children and women out of their homes to hiding places while the remaining moran fought off the attackers. They requested back up from local government officials such as the area MP, DO, councilors, and others to assist when the Kenyan police refused to intervene.

– On Monday July 13 at approximately 6 PM, a group of Somali Borana raiders attacked a Turkana community in Ngara Mara, between Archers Post and Isiolo, accusing the Turkana community of sympathizing with the Samburu tribe. They stole 450 cattle and kidnapped 2 children, reminiscent of the first attacks in February of this year on a Samburu community near the Kalama Wildlife Conservancy 6 km from Lerata, where 300 cattle and 2 children were kidnapped. Those children were later found dead with their throats slit.

– According to Samburu District County Council officer Raphael Leilikei of Archer’s Post, the 2 young Turkana children, ages 8 and 9, from the community of Ngara Mara were also found murdered the following day in a similar fashion, throats slit. (They were badly mutilated, there are pictures) – The cattle have not yet been recovered and there has been no police response to the murders or thefts.

– At approximately 1 PM on July 17, fighting broke out in the northern Kenya town of Isiolo, according to Kenya army leiutenant James Lerinainen. Armed Borana and Somali gunmen opened fire in a marketplace, targetting Turkana and Samburu tribesmen trading in the city center. 15 people are dead and many more injured. 3 police were shot and killed by the Borana and Somali gunmen, as well as 3 Turkana. In the fighting that ensued, 12 Borana were shot by Turkana. Fighting took place in the marketplace, at a petrol station, and at the bus station.

– At 7am the following morning, July 18th, 4 more Turkana were again shot dead by Borana and Somali gunmen in the marketplace. 3 lorries filled with police arrived tonight July 18 in Archer’s Post to reoccuppy the outpost.

– “I believe the marked increase in intensity and impunity of the Pokot raids against the Samburu that you summarise so well in Western Laikipia during the past three years has mainly to do with the fact that cattle are now fetching~ $1000 USD per head in So Sudan as cattle markets resume and So Sudan Pastoralists now have access to money and are able to refinancing of the herds that the lost in more than 30 years of civil war.”


– ” The raids of our cattle in the west by the Pokot supported by the government in the background which have gone on for over 3 years and still continue are one problem and are connected to the raids that took place more recently in the east.”

-“A total of 4122 Samburu cattle were reported taken by the recent GOK raids, and these were taken to pay back the 52 which the Samburu attempted to return to the DO and the OPCD before the raids started. But the government officers said they didn’t want the Meru cattle. We think this was because the raids against us were already being planned.”

– “If the governemt wants to solve this problem, the first thing they must do is remove Hassan Noor Hassan as the Provincial Commissioner for the Rift Valley Province.”

– “The Government should also be aware that the so-called Borana MP for Isiolo is in fact a Somali, and he manipulates the Borana to attack us. Both Borana and Samburu suffer because of this.”

6 comments to Update on Isiolo/Samburu: must read

  • Sijui

    Thanks Ory for spreading the word…..

  • Just saw a tweet of yours and came here to learn more. Wow. Off to share and learn more.

  • orangasli

    It would be erroneous to present any of these groups as the victims of any of the others–their wars for resources are cyclical and have been ongoing for decades. The Samburus for example(whose current MP for their West constituency is an assistant minister for internal security) have longstanding battles with Somali over space and the utilization of space for as far back as is known. I think the relevant question in this regard is under what conditions do mutual accomodations breakdown and what can external actors (eg govt, NGOs etc) do to help prevent/circumvent such breakdowns.

    As I see it the broader problems are two. First, the police are largely irrelevant. The fighting groups are well armed and protect themselves from each other. As one Samburu colleague told me last year, each Samburu household has its own automatic weapon..as do the Pokot, Borana, Somali, and so on. Second, and like you have rightly pointed out, this feeds squarely into Kenya’s broader problem of disorder and lawlessness. Northern Kenya is roamed by gun-wielding pastoralists, a law unto themselves. Other parts of the country are increasingly less different. Those that had viewed and proclaimed Mungiki as a Kikuyu problem lacked the foresight to make the connections that you have done so well.

  • I can’t tell you how pleased I am to see another blog and information making its way to the internet on the situation of the Samburu people. I have been blogging and posting information on the situation at the Kenya Aid & Relief Effort’s website, http://www.saveSamburu.org. My colleague Tina Ramme, who works amid the Samburu and founded the organization, has been sending me daily and weekly updates on the worsening situation there, which I post — along with commentary — on the blog.

    I must strongly contradict the above opinion of Orangasli re. the responsibility of the government for the situation. On the blog is a picture of the Kenyan police loading Samburu cattle into lorries in March as they steal them to sell on East African cattle markets. KARE also has pictures of the police coming in in helicopters in response to the original February Somali cattle raid and the resultant wounds Samburu took as the police fired upon them from the helicopters before landing and then attacking them. Several days later, the police removed what few, yes few, arms some local Samburu had, which individuals had originally received from the government to protect local conservation efforts.

    We all need to be speaking out on the worsening political and humanitarian situation for the Samburu and others in Northern Kenya. As a result of the police theft of cattle and the on-going drought, people there are starving. Cholera has marched hand in hand with the famine and deaths are increasing.

  • mathew lempurkel

    This goverment is not at all ready solve insecurity in Isiolo and Samburu. Last few months the goverment arm the Borana, somali and the Meru communitys with 600 automatic guns and the samburus and the TURKANAS who are living in ISIOLO were not given anything. It is my aplea to the intanational community help us

  • I agree. Neither is superior-but run it for charity and run it WHEN you qualify and tell me which you are more excited for. Charity, no doubt is more meritfulbut chasing that number and grabbing itnot much is better than that.