Ex-British army officer and rancher shot dead in Kenya by invader herders

The death of Tristan Voorspuy opens yet a fresh page on the level of impunity of the grazers, as even the police boss' helicopter shot at.

 

The rancher and a former British army officer only identified as Tristan Voorspuy, was on Sunday hit by a bullet and he died on the spot as he was riding on a horse to inspect the extend of damages to one of the lodges that was torched Friday last week by bandits.

Martin Evans, the Chairman of Laikipia Ranchers Association, said that the slain Voorspuy was inspecting the damages caused by the raiders when the attackers open fire on him.

It took hours for the security officers to pick the body of the late as there were fears that the bandits were still lurking in the surrounding bushes.

Politically fueled

The death of Voorspuy, the first of a white farmer since the invasions of the cattle herders that began last year, represents a great escalation in an offensive. The whites in the area have a view that those feuds are politically motivated as the herders are heavily armed, to even scare away the security agencies operating in the area.

Purportedly, the invasions are deemed to have been triggered by persisting drought that has forced Samburu and Pokot herdsmen to abandon denuded pasture to the north and east of Laikipia and drive their cattle onto the region’s carefully-husbanded ranches.

Over 20 residents have been killed in the recent past, including workers on white-owned farms. Last year, white ranchers were shot at and a resident killed. Wildlife, including elephants, have also been killed.

The government’s response on the matter has been muted, although two police operations have been mounted against the invaders in the past month, including one last week on Sosian. The two have since failed.

Insecure inspector general

Earlier before the death of Voorspuy, the Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet whose helicopter was flowing over the scene came under fire as the bandits pelted bullets on his chopper before he landed.

The National Police Service, through a statement has refuted the claims, but eye witnesses said they heard gunshots and later saw the plane take off.

“At no time did the Inspector General and his entourage encounter any hostility of whatever kind or an attempt to shoot at the police helicopter as reported by two newspapers,” reads part of the statement by police Spokesperson George Kinoti.

In retaliation, Boinnet said more police officers have been dispatched to the area beginning Monday to contain the escalating insecurity following threats posed by illegal grazers who even set ablaze a ranch in the area.

The police chief was on a tour toured the troubled ranches in Laikipia County following cases of insecurity in recent weeks after herders invaded private ranches.

The situation is tense despite the deployment of more police officers to comb the area.

Voorspuy served in the British army for six years in the seventies before serving a two-year commission with the Household Guards.

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