DAY 19…Friday……today…already a shitty day….. my husband finally managed to get to my brother’s cottage on the dam to assess the damage and try fix the door as he had a spare lock here. Off he went with Police support……well things weren’t not good, the staff houses have been burnt and the staff only have what they walked out wearing…..the store has been broken into and anything useful stolen and then burnt…..the kitchen door into the cottage is not fixable, the whole door is bent and buckled….and the destruction of property inside the cottage is frankly horrendous, anything that can be broken is broken……other stuff has been stolen…..the 2 dogs that lived there had both been SPEARED but were STILL ALIVE and hanging in there. He had to put them both down !!
We keep being told this is about ‘Kiangazi na Nyasi’ – drought and grass…..well it is pretty obvious that is not true…..this is a sinister plan, well co ordinated and planned.
PLEASE PLEASE TELL EVERYONE YOU KNOW.
DAY 18…..positive in a way as we weren’t shot at……..is it a change……or was it just market day in Rumuruti……?!!!! Hard to be optimistic ….. We heard shooting from up in the plains and information is that they were shooting at elephant….we can’t move around to confirm…but spent the day watching herds and herds of illegal cattle and groups of armed people gathering etc etc……Our first lorry load of hay arrived and the recovered Boran cows were delighted although still turning their noses up at dairy meal. The dairy cows are happy …Bowsers loads of water are trucked up all morning to fill troughs and tanks…..AP’s and Police here and helping where they can…….all rather cross after all the ambushing and shooting of Day 17
DAY 17 in a row of being shot at……….Wednesday….started off with some very good news that 16 breeding cows and 2 calves have been found abandoned in a slaughter house not too far from Nyahururu. My son spent most of the day up there sorting things out and with a huge amount of help from the local community eventually loaded the cows and calves onto a truck to come home, in a place where there is no loading ramp and our cattle are known to be difficult to handle on a good day. The cows have lost a huge amount of condition since they were stolen on the 16th and some have been pretty badly beaten but they are now home and hopefully will get used to the new menu of hay, dairy meal and molasses.
A peace meeting was held off the farm with Pokot and Samburu leaders and Police and after the meeting we were assured that there would be no more shooting, theft vandalism etc…….well that didn’t last long ….within 2 hours !!! My husband had just left the compound helping with the change over of AP’s and was fired upon….about 10 or 12shots fired towards the car and the house…..the Rumuruti OCS had also just left and was fired upon between the yards and the main road and then the AP’s were also fired upon……luckily everyone is ok but the blatant aggression shown to the government is not a great precedent.
The tide has to turn, law and order must be restored……..we have to be positive …..and we got some of out stolen cows back…..a good day !!!
DAY 16. Tuesday…..another herd left the farm for safekeeping, now collecting water by bowser to take to remaining cattle, due to pump being vandalized……crazily today was another first we are having to buy in feed for the cattle, while other cattle not belonging to us are grazing freely !!!! Have attended meetings, spend hours on the phone trying to get some support from the government. The local Police and AP’s continue to assist us as much as they can but need back up. We are trying to talk with community leaders to try and stop the theft vandalism etc as well as following up on leads of stolen stuff. But the herds continue to come in, the gatherings of armed men continue……and it was turning out to be a peaceful gunfire free day until 6pm…..then about 12 shots were fired at the house…..this time from much closer on this side of the dam, thankfully the police were here and returned fire, my son got back safely from locking up the cows and mixing their first batch of feed which I guess they’ll take a few days to get used to and then love it !! My husband, son, sister in law and I are all fine and are still feeling hopeful and positive that something will be done sooooooooon!
DAY 15…Monday….a slow start for our remaining herds of cows to go grazing …we had reports of 4 armed men seen in the thick bush between our house and the yards and offices, and so had to wait for the day shift of AP’s to arrive. On arriving at the yards quite a number of our staff were waiting to see us- some wanted to leave permanently, others wanted to take a few weeks off and wait for the situation to calm down. A farm invasion like this isn’t just affecting our lives and business but hits our staff extremely hard as well……when you want to leave because you fear for your life it really is a sad situation and affects so may people who rely on them and their income. Luckily we still have some that are ready to hang in here for a bit longer. Then it was back to our new routine of keeping tabs on the cattle, each herd now wit 3 or 4 herdsmen and then checking up on the usual spots of watching herds and herds of illegal cattle coming in, counting groups of armed men and keeping a look out. More staff were threatened by people on motorbikes on the access road and so it went on……… We couldn’t get access to my brother’s house on the dam to see the damage and destruction and likely theft and also to try and collect the two dogs that live there that wouldn’t follow the staff out after they had been chased off and their houses burnt. We heard two shots coming from that area and following information suspect it was them shooting the lock on the door to gain access. More shooting was heard down the valley which we later heard was at Dad’s house where the AP’s are based and they had come underfire by the armed men. Things quietened down and we all relaxed until 4 pm when I stepped onto the verandah in a red shirt to hand a phone to my son, who was more toned in. 1 shot was fired at us and we quickly took cover. Cattle were all locked up and we hoped for a peaceful night…not to be about 8.30 a volley of shots were fired over the backyard , another attempt to steal some of our remaining cattle….it was prevented by our own security.
His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta while on tour of Samburu and Laikipia, on pausing in Rumuruti he stated that – Land invasions on private property would not be tolerated.
We sincerely hope that this is the turning point in an otherwise desperate situation.
Feeling positive and hopeful……..
DAY 14….fires had been lit in the night, we could see through binos people putting out fires in one place and same people lighting in other areas…….a lot of our Eucalyptus has gone up or will have been killed by the heat close by…..the tracker dogs came in to follow the scent from the 3 guys trying to shoot my son. We had to wait a while for the police to accompany them but all good…..well within a few minutes of tracking and being visible to the boundary they were fired upon ….a couple of rounds landed very close and the tracking was called off. Huge thanks to the dogs for coming, things are just too volatile without police reinforcements for this kind of thing to be successful. The rest of the day was spent with the Police and AP’s being shot at and returning fire. At some parts of the day we were being fired at from across the dam and armed gunmen advancing from the Kieni boundary luckily the Police spotted them…….things eventually calmed down in the evening towards 6 ish and all the Police left……cattle were all locked up and we were waiting for the night shift of 5 AP’s to arrive ……. About 7.15 we heard a couple of shots close by– on the dam wall, in the dam spillway close to the house and then a lot of firing up towards the cattle yards and offices. We called the AP’s to alert them and hopefully get them to come earlier rather than later……..things calmed down, they hadn’t managed to steal any cattle and any damage we can discover in the morning, main thing is nobody was hurt……. We’ve been called to say some cattle that could belong to us and another farm have been impounded near Nyahururu….brilliant …fingers crossed……..And we got through the night with no AP’s here…..they never came !!!!
DAY 13 in a row of violence and mayhem……..but a very long road already travelled….this has been going on since September which puts things in perspective!! Saturday started off well, weighing of the cull heifers to sell off rather than look for grazing for them….I headed off to a meeting which was an escape from the war zone!! Armed men gathered and dispersed then regrouped as they have done over the previous day’s. The AP’s and Police were here waiting for the armed invaders to fire the first shot……they didn’t. Maybe we were heading for a more peaceful time……well those were short lived thoughts…..soon after the Police left one shot was heard towards the main road…..that was fine….every day we hear shots ….. Then my son went up to lock up the cattle and check on things and then as he got home at 7.30 pm he was shot at in the garden while walking down to the house. He is extremely extremely lucky not to have been hit. Let’s see what happens today (Sunday)…….! I would love to be able to believe that this is just a drought and pastoralists are desperate for grass…..but that is not what this is….it is far more sinister and the government seems unable or unwilling to stop it.
DAY 12 ….more cattle left the farm….2 lorry loads under police escort as situation was volatile in the area.
We cannot thank our friends and fellow farmers enough for the huge amount of support showed by offering to take cattle …..truly amazing and humbling…..also great to speak to rafikis, read messages and know that we are not all alone in this…..thank you all so much. We have to live in hope that the situation will be resolved soon..sorry don’t have time to reply and message everyone separately but we all really really appreciate them. Xxx
DAY 11….. Positives – 2 more herds left the farm for safe keeping….Negatives- lots! One of the incidences- all the remaining cattle grazing in the house compound with extra herdsman…. 4.30pm …1 shot fired by illegal grazer from across the dam at the house…..missed the house but hit a young bull peacefully grazing in the lung. Had to be put down.
DAY 9 and 10 things have not improved…….Day 9 two of our Kikuyu staff were beaten by a gang of 4 Samburu, one carrying an AK47 the others rungus. Luckily they are both fine but a farm base set radio, battery, solar panel and fence energizer stolen – tracker dogs came in but scent ended where stuff had been put on motorbikes…….. Day 10- My husband, son and I left home early and got back home for breakfast at 6PM !! The positives more cattle off the farm, negatives more cattle stolen, more shooting, …. a friend came by plane to try help us …one shot fired at plane………more cattle should move off today….lets see what else happens. My daughter is in charge of chungaring my Mum, who we moved off the farm. Xx