n Conflict Trends - Youth-led peace caravans and inter-community peacebuilding among pastoralists in North-western Kenya

Volume 2012, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 1561-9818


North-western Kenya has been a theatre of violent conflict pitting the Pokot, Samburu and Turkana communities against each other. It is a fierce and deadly competition. The causes are a combination of diminishing pasture and water resources, the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, political incitement, disputes over land and ethnic boundaries, the absence of adequate state security and the commercialisation of cattle raiding. This has led to a state of helplessness in many pastoralist households. They have been violently deprived of their source of livelihoods (cattle), many have lost their lives and many more are living in destitution in trading centres such as Baragoi in Samburu, Chemolingot in Pokot and Kapedo in Turkana. The frontline participation of thousands of youth from these communities in violent conflict has been blamed on their lack of education and high unemployment. There is also a cultural requirement that young men participate in cattle raids against neighbouring communities to enhance their status in society. The raided cattle are sometimes used to pay bride wealth in marriage which moves the young man up the social status ladder.

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