Pastoralist communities living along the Kenya-Ethiopia border in Marsabit County are proposing an inter-state approach in addressing cattle rustling and banditry menace in those areas.
The residents from Moyale and Sololo sub-counties have for a long time borne the brunt because the border is porous which makes it hard for adequate policing from both sides.
According to peace committees in the sub-counties negotiations between the two countries could help in tackling the problem which has not only cost locals property but also lives.
The Chairperson of the Sololo sub-county peace committee Galmah Dabaso said during a peace meeting between the local Borana community and the Degodia ethnic group from Wajir at Bori in Moyale sub-county that the free movement of people and livestock across the border was an enabling environment for cattle rustling.
Mr Dabaso regretted that the illegal livestock trade along the border had also encouraged the proliferation of illegal firearms that were normally used to execute the livestock raids.
“Unless the free movement of people and livestock across this border is put under check these cartels will continue to thrive,” he told the meeting that was also attended by Moyale MP Qalicha Gufu , his Eldas counterpart Adan Keynan, Moyale DCC Patrick Mumali, Sololo DCC Dennis Kyeti and the DCC for Eldas Vincent Lamachar.
The peace committee members asked the government to facilitate talks with the Ethiopian authorities for a long-lasting two-sided agreement that would assist in keeping check on those who cross the border with animals.
They said that the outlawed practice of cattle rustling has been commercialized with the cartels involved taking advantage of the porous border to move stolen animals into Ethiopia.
Moyale Peace committee Chairman Mohammed Nurr called on the Kenyan and Ethiopian governments to device a method that would see bilateral efforts applied in curbing the menace along the border.
It was noted at the meeting that most of the cattle rustlers were capitalizing on the porosity of the border because the Kenyan security agencies can hardly trace stolen animals once the rustlers cross into Ethiopia.
The meeting between representatives of the two livestock herding communities agreed to foster a harmonious co-existence where conflicts arising from grazing resources would be resolved amicably.
A combined effort between security agencies and elders helped in the recovery of 620 camels, 300 goats and four donkeys that were stolen from the Degodia community on June 6, this year.
A businessman from Wajir Roble Garad lauded the commitment shown by leaders and community elders from both Marsabit and Wajir counties in recovering the stolen livestock and reconciling the two communities.
Chiefs were highly commended for their critical role in the recovery of the livestock and peace building among members of the two neighbouring communities.
By Sebastian Miriti