Kenya summons Tanzanian envoy over cow row

Tuesday November 21 2017

Cattle crossing a road. Tanzania has auctioned 1,125 cattle belonging to Kenyan herders. The cows were seized when they were found grazing in Tanzania. PHOTO | NMG


Tanzania's ambassador to Kenya has been summoned to explain why Kenyan cows had been forcibly auctioned after crossing into Tanzania, officials said, the latest development in a spat between the two neighbours.

In October, Tanzania seized and auctioned 1,300 Kenyan cattle which had been driven across the border during a routine seasonal search for pasture, angering Kenya's government.

Then, earlier this month, the dispute diversified into poultry when Tanzania confiscated 6,500 chicks and burned them alive saying they had been brought from Kenya illegally and might spread disease.

Kenya's foreign ministry issued a "note of protest" in response and has followed it up with a summons to Tanzania's ambassador in Nairobi, signalling a deepening rift between the nations.

"Following the auction of these cows and the destruction by fire of the chicks, which had also entered in violation of the law, the Kenyan government summoned our ambassador in Nairobi to ask for explanations," Tanzania's foreign ministry said in a statement Sunday.

It did not say when the meeting took place.


The statement reiterated that "the entry of livestock and livestock products into the country is governed by national laws, regional and international agreements" aimed at preventing the spread of disease and urged Kenya and other neighbours to control their farmers and herders.

A series of diplomatic and trade squabbles have soured relations between Kenya and Tanzania in recent months.

Kenyan traders have complained of mistreatment by Tanzanian immigration agents, which has sparked protests at the border, and tit-for-tat trade jabs have seen the two nations blocking the import of various goods from either country.

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