A 30-year-old man has been killed by a marauding elephant at Enkii in Loitoktok, Kajiado South amid increased human-wildlife conflict in the vast region that borders four national parks.
The Tuesday morning incident brings to two the number of people killed by elephants this month as another man riding on his bicycle was on December 14 killed by a jumbo in the Mashuuru area of Kajiado East Subcounty. The incident sparked protests from locals who retaliated by killing the pregnant jumbo.
Confirming the incident Loitoktok Sub-county police commander Shadrack Ruto said the deceased was attacked when he reported to the farm.
“The deceased had just reported to work when he was attacked by the stray elephant,” Ruto said.
The police commander urged locals to be more vigilant over the marauding wild animals to avert incidences of attacks.
“I urge locals to be more careful as they go about their daily routines, especially because there is an increase of marauding wild animals owing to the ravaging effects of drought. The people should reduce the danger of coming into contact with the animals by being on high alert, especially in the wee hours of morning and evening,” he added.
The bloody incident comes amid an intensified standoff between locals, leaders and officers from the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) accused of harassment.
Lack of pasture occasioned by the ongoing drought in the last year has been pushing herders from Masimba area to sneak their animals to Chyulu hills even as KWS officers maintain the national park is a restricted area.
Now Kajiado farmers claim that rogue KWS officers are asking for bribes to allow them to graze livestock in areas surrounding the park. They also claim to be harassed and arrested while outside the park.
The dejected farmers also read malice as to why those arrested are charged in Makueni courts.
Chyulu National Park borders Kajiado and Makueni counties.
In the recent past, some wardens are accused of battering the herders before arresting them and holding their animals. Each animal is fined leading to ugly confrontations between the herders.
Eight herders are still being held at Makueni custody as tension remains palpable with herders vowing to reiterate.
“We want our farmers to be released unconditionally. We have lost half the population of our cattle to drought and we are just trying to save the remaining few. This area has received some rain and has pasture.
“Why is it that KWS officers are arresting us even outside the park? Where will we get bribes to offer the rogue officers who are harassing us? We are truly suffering in the hands of KWS officers and we appeal to the government to intervene,” John Topoika lamented.
Governor Joseph Ole Lenku is on record saying he would lead residents to block the wildlife migratory routes if KWS officers continue harassing and arresting farmers.
“We peacefully co-exist with wild animals which graze in our lands unconditionally. The wildlife migratory routes are within our land and we have never acted selfishly. Why are KWS wardens harassing our farmers?
“We will do anything within our capability to ensure that justice is served and the issue of unlawful arrest over pasture ends. We have witnessed a lot of hostility towards our people by KWS. We have not benefited from KWS as we should and if they should stop this harassment or we shall help our farmers fence off these corridors,” Lenku warned.
Human-wildlife conflict is rampant in most parts of Kajiado, especially areas bordering Nairobi, Chyulu, Tsavo and Amboseli National parks.
Marauding lions and elephants are the major wild animals that pose danger to local farms, lives and livestock.
The issue of compensation for lost lives and animals mauled by wild animals has also been a thorn in the flesh of locals.
Only a few parts of Kajiado have received rain. The majority of herders have moved to other counties in search of pasture and water as drought effects continue taking a toll on them.
Ten general service unit (GSU) officers are facing murder charges over the Masimba killing where four protesters lost their lives on June 2 2022 while in a peaceful protest.
The locals were protesting against the rampant human-wildlife conflict in the area saying elephants were still marauding in the area posing a threat to school-going children and locals despite having killed a primary school teacher a week earlier.
The residents accused KWS officers of being non-responsive to their plight in a protest that ended bloody.