Britain urges Kenya to secure Laikipia after rancher killing

Monday March 06 2017

Mr Tristan Voorspuy was found dead in his Sosian Ranch on March 6, 2017. PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Britain on Monday called on Kenya to beef up security in Laikipia County, in the north of the country, after a British rancher was killed by herders on Saturday night.

The body of Mr Tristan Voorspuy, a dual Kenyan-British national, was found at the Sosian ranch which he co-owned.

He had ventured out on a horseback to visit a site on the ranch where two cottages had been set ablaze.

Ranches and farms in the region have, in the recent months, been invaded by armed herders searching for pastures for their tens of thousands of cattle. Some tourist lodges have been looted while others have been razed to the ground. Several people have also been killed.

Restore order

Mr Nic Hailey, the British High Commissioner to Kenya, said he had repeatedly raised his country's concern over the Laikipia situation with the Kenyan government.


“I continue to urge the Kenyan authorities to take all necessary steps urgently to restore law and order, and to protect life and property in the area.

“I was deeply saddened by the murder of Mr Tristan Voorspuy. The British High Commission is in touch with his family to provide support at this difficult time,” said Mr Hailey.

He added that he has reiterated his government's concern over the insecurity following Mr Voorspuy’s murder.

He welcomed the commitment “at the highest levels” to tackle the situation.

Kenya on Monday assured international tourists visiting Laikipia that the conservancies and ranches in the county are safe for safari.

Police escort

Kenya Police spokesman Charles Owino said security has been intensified in the county to protect visitors, investors and tourist facilities, including camps and lodges.

He added that police were providing escort to tour vans transporting tourists to ranches and conservancies for them to enjoy game drives without fearing for their safety.

Mr Owino said so far no tourist has been affected by the ranch invasions by herders.

He said officers from the Kenya Tourist Police Unit were also deployed to Laikipia to safeguard visitors and the camps and lodges where they stay.

“As a result of severe drought, some herders illegally forced their animals into private ranches and conservancies for grazing thereby causing conflict with the private landowners," he said.

“It is against the law for the herders to invade private land. Police have heightened security to protect investors, visitors and property.”

A month ago, herders forced themselves into Suiyan conservancy with their livestock in search of pasture where they burnt down a lodge and cottages.

Other ranches and conservancies that have been invaded by herders include Laikipia Nature Conservation, Segera ranch, Ol Jogi, Ol Malo Sabuk, Borana and Mpala.

The ranches and conservancies in Laikipia are among tourist destinations in the country which attract large number of wildlife lovers.