Dutch tourists escape unhurt as youths stone their vehicle in Laikipia

Tourists arrive at Moi International airport./FILE

A family of Dutch holidaymakers was attacked by a mob of Pokot invaders at the Laikipia Nature Conservancy on Friday night.

Harm Duiker, head of Dutch development organisation SNV, together with six others, were confronted in their Safari vehicle by more than 10 Pokot youths armed with crude weapons, who blocked their way with boulders.

The youths threw stones at the tourists, smashing the vehicle’s windscreen and windows. The visitors escaped unhurt after an AP officer escorting them fired twice in the air, forcing the attackers to flee.

This is the latest in a string of incidents targetting foreign tourists in Laikipia, where private conservancies and farms are being invaded by thousands of Pokot and Samburu herders and their livestock.

Residents say politicians are inciting the violence. A number of people were killed in 2016, many displaced and property destroyed.

Last month, President Uhuru Kenyatta appointed Agriculture PS Richard Lesiyampe as mediator in the problems affecting the area.

 Leaders have, however, said the situation does not need mediation or peace caravans, but total eviction of the herders.

Led by Devolution CS Mwangi Kiunjuri, the leaders met security officers and NCIC chairperson Francis ole Kaparo in Nanyuki last month to seek the way forward in restoring security.

During the meeting, Laikipia East MP Antony Mutahi blamed armed herders from Samburu, Baringo and Isiolo for the increased criminal activities.

“This is not a standoff that requires a mediator, all we want is for the government to flush out all these herders. They are grazing on privately owned ranches with total disregard to the owners.”

Western diplomats recently said travel advisories might have to warn against visiting Laikipia if the violence continues. Tourists have had to be evacuated on several occasions in the last two years after their camps were overrun by armed raiders. Tourism is Kenya’s second-largest foreign exchange earner.




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