Residents of Maburuk up in arms over cattle rustling .

Residents of Mbaruk in Gilgil constituency are up in arms over a rise in cases of organized cattle rustling with the suspects targeting dairy cows. In the cases, the rustlers are slaughtering the livestock and carting away the meat to nearby towns where there is a ready market. Over 30 farmers have been affected in the last two months with fingers pointing to some of the local youths who are working in cahoots with the cartel. Last week, residents of Mukeu village in Kinangop and off the Nairobi-Nakuru highway burnt down a personal car that was found ferrying meat from cattle stolen in one of the homes. In the latest incident, residents of Mbaruk have now threatened to take to the highway to protest the cases that have impoverished them.

According to one of the victims Kibe Njuguna, the rustlers were keen on the kind of livestock they wanted with the open fields used as the slaughtering area. He said that for years he had relied on the livestock for his income terming the theft as a major blow to him and his family. “I used to supply several homes with milk but since the theft of three of my dairy cows I have been left penniless,” he said. This was echoed by another farmer Mary Wanjiru who said that the meat was transported to nearby towns using personal cars. She said that the animals would be slaughtered using the cover of darkness by the rustlers who were quick in their operations. “Nearly all the homes that rear livestock in this area have been affected and we are calling on police to take action against this cartel,” she said. A senior police officer from Gilgil police station admitted that the problem was rife in the area and blamed some of the youths for working with the cartel. “Several cases have been reported to us and it’s a matter of time before we get this cartel that is ferrying the meat to Nairobi,” said the officer who declined to be named.