Conflict over grazing land in Kilifi between Somali pastoralists and residents

Conflict over grazing land in Kilifi between Somali pastoralists and residents

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Kilifi, KENYA: Conflict is looming between villagers and a section of Somali pastoral community over the  grazing land in Jira – Bamba, Kilifi County.

Villagers claim to have been deprived of their grazing lands for their livestock by the Somali’s; whom they claim are invading their community.

“They have occupied almost the whole grazing land for our livestock because they keep Camels, Cattle and goats in large numbers. We hereby call upon the government to intervene for a solution.” said one of the villagers.

According to them, the Somali Community has declined to leave the area despite an ultimatum by the provincial administration to leave the village.

Peter Chirani, a village elder in Gede Shirango, said as a leader he never knew the arrival of the Somali Community in the village.

“When we came to realize their presence we tried to know how they were allowed inside this land but they claimed the provincial administration knew something that the Chief and his assistant refute.” said Chirani.

According Chira, the Somali Community was earlier on given an ultimatum to leave the village by the provincial administration but declined to leave.

“This (Somali) community claims to be here legally but then when we ask them to present IDs or other legal documents they have none,We suspect there is something fishy going on between the chief and his assistant in this.” added Chirani.

According to the area MCA Daniel Mangi, he supports  the idea of their departure, as he also has no information on how they came in to owning land in the area.

“I have already written to the provincial administration urging it to take the necessary action and make sure this community leaves the area,” said Mangi.

However, Zainab Yusuf, one of the Somali pastoralists has insisted that they are in the village legally.

“We are here legally and not illegally as the residents reckon and we are not ready to leave,” Zainab said.

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The residents have given the provincial administration a fourteen days ultimatum to ensure solution has been reached.