Cattle raiding in Kenya

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The northern Kenya and eastern Uganda regions are very insecure areas. For years now, there has been a number of cattle raids going on, terrorising the civilian population and killing hundreds of people.

In eastern Uganda, in the Karamoja region, there are nomadic cattle herders called the Karamojong. These people are believed to be responsible for a number of the raids into Kenya.


Tensions in this region are long-lasting. For 20 years now the Karamojong have been armed, and cattle raids have been going on. In 2001, a seven-month process was started to disarm the Karamojong of some 20,000 weapons. As of 2003, the Ugandan army claims over 10,000 guns have been collected but the process is slow with most of the Ugandan army troops relocated to the north to fight a rebel incursion there.

It also appears that the Ugandan government is taking sides in the conflicts. In 2003, the Ugandan army said it is recruiting Karamojong warriors as a militia force to fight the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebel group in eastern Uganda. Brig Kale Kaihura, a special military assistant to President Yoweri Museveni, told IRIN news: "Karamojong are as much threatened as anyone and they know it's in everyone’s interest that we protect Uganda from these thugs" (IRIN news).

Raids also occur between Kenya and Ethiopia. The Boranas group has recently been involved in raids involving cattle, according to a BBC article. Over the past year, more and more people from Ethiopia are crossing into Kenya, and violence is a common occurrence in the region. Cattle related conflicts are also happening between Uganda and Sudan (BBC).

On July 3, 2005 both Uganda and Kenya governments agreed in a meeting to step up efforts to disarm pastoral communities in the two countries to end the violence according to an All Africa story. However, the month of July has seen more attacks than ever before.

Recent raids[edit]

  • In January 2003, a Ugandan cattle clashes left 30 people dead (BBC).
  • In April 2003, dozens of people were killed and thousands displaced after an attack by Kenyan cattle raiders in eastern Uganda (BBC).
  • On September 21, 2003, raiders have killed dozens of people in the north-eastern region of Katakwi (BBC). The government later confiscated 1238 heads from Karamojong elders to compensate the lives taken in the raid.
  • On June 24, 2005 the World Food Programme suspended its operations because Karamojong warriors looted nearly 50 tons of food (IOL).
  • On July 12, 2005 61 people died in Kenya from attacks (BBC).
  • On July 15, 2005 the BBC reported over 25 deaths over a two-day period when raiders from Uganda ambushed and stole cattle (BBC). Over 2,000 animals are believed to have been stolen in the past month. An army commander said the trouble began when Pian warriors raided cattle from the rival Bokora ethnic group.
  • On July 21, 2005, some 200 raiders from eastern Uganda crossed into Kenya (Reuters). Police say the raiders killed a 12-year-old boy and stole many animals. Kenyan security forces say they have shot dead 18 of the cattle raiders.
  • On July 31, 2008 raiders shot around 30 herdsmen at Suguta Valley. The herdsmen were chasing raiders, who had earlier stolen their cattle, but the herdsmen run out of ammunition.[1]
  • In August 2009 seven suspected raiders and a 16-year-old herdsboy were killed as raiders attacked the Napoi Enatuny village in Turkana West District.[2]
  • In September 2009 at least 31 people died during a raid to Mogurak, Laikipia North District [3]
  • On November 10 Ten people died when Samburu cattle raiders attacked the Kisima village in Isiolo District.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Anon 2008, 'Raiders shoot dead 30 herders', Daily Nation, 2 August. Retrieved on 2 August 2008.
  2. ^ Daily Nation, August 31, 2009: Eight killed in Turkana raid
  3. ^ Daily Nation, September 15, 2009: 31 killed in Laikipia cattle raid
  4. ^ The Standard, November 16, 2009: 10 killed, six injured as raiders attack village