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Residents engage elephants in running battles

Residents of Siron village in Marmanet, Laikipia County are protesting frequent attack by marauding elephants that have continued to wreak havoc in their farms and endangering their lives.

The residents were speaking after engaging nine jumbos on Wednesday, without much success.

The irate residents claimed that the elephants had strayed from the neighbouring Rumuruti Forest into their farms and destroying their valuable crops.

The residents said that the elephants roamed into the farms in the wee hours of the morning and the efforts to chase them away proved unfruitful.

According to the residents, the jumbos would later be returned back to the forest at around mid-day after destroying crops and several granaries worth millions of shillings.

The residents have hence threatened to move to the streets to compel both levels of governments to take action following frequent invasion of their farms and homesteads by the jumbos.

Stanley Mwangi an area resident, complained that the elephant were now destroying crops and breaking granaries putting them at risk of facing hunger.

“Half of our crops were destroyed by these animals last year and now they have resorted to breaking our granaries and feeding on what little we had stored there. We now risk starving and this is very unfortunate that people from the agricultural rich area like us may resort to seeking relief food from the government,” he lamented.

Mwangi called for an immediate probe on the construction of Sh. 200 million electric fence project that was launched last year by the Deputy President, Dr. William Ruto, claiming that the taxpayers money might have gone to people’s pocket.

“We are demanding for a thorough audit on how Sh 200 million set aside for the construction of an electric fence around the Rumuruti –Marmanet forests. The already completed part is not serving its purpose of keeping the animals in their habitat,” alleged Mwangi.

Ms. Esther Kariuki, a teacher at Mung’etho Primary School in the area regretted that the number of pupils had reduced by half, a situation she attributed to frequent morning invasion by the animals.

“Teachers are also affected as most of them also spend night outside trying to protect their farms. When they report to work what they only do is sleeping,” she laments.

The residents have demanded that their leaders immediately focus their attention on the war against human-wildlife conflicts in the region.

“Several people have lost their lives as a result of attacks by the animals, others maimed by the beasts and our efforts to get compensation even for the destroyed crops have been futile,” said Simon Maina, another resident.

Among the affected areas include Siron, Gatundia, OL Jabet, Rumuruti among others.

By  James Thuku/David Njoroge

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