Britain urged Kenya to restore law and order in the north of the country after a British rancher was shot dead there.
Numerous attacks have taken place in drought-stricken Laikipia region in recent months as armed cattle herders searching for scarce grazing have driven tens of thousands of cattle onto private farms and ranches from poor quality communal land. At least a dozen people have been killed.
The most recent victim was Tristan Voorspuy, a British army veteran who held dual Kenyan and British citizenship and ran a company called Offbeat Safaris.
Nic Hailey, Britain’s high commissioner to Kenya, said he had repeatedly conveyed to the Kenyan government Britain’s concern over the situation in Laikipia.
“I continue to urge Kenyan authorities to take all necessary steps urgently to restore law and order and to protect life and property in the area,” he said in a statement.
Sarah Korere, member of parliament for Laikipia North, told Reuters the violent land invasions were stoked by politicians seeking votes from particular ethnic blocs in a national election scheduled for August.
Kenya’s interior minister, Joseph Nkaisserry, said the head of the country’s criminal investigation directorate was dispatched to the area to lead the investigation, adding 379 “illegal grazers” had been arrested.
He said Voorspuy’s body was taken away from the crime scene by security personnel after the pastoralists earlier prevented neighbours from retrieving it.
Kenya has a history of ethnic clashes and political violence. The last election, in 2013, passed relatively peacefully but more than 1,200 people were killed following a disputed poll in 2007.