Sugarcane farmers in Transmara, Narok County, West Kenya, are counting millions of shillings in losses after arsonists set ablaze about 60 acres of cane plantation in the Mapashi area.
According to reports, the arsonists struck at around 8pm, sparking a near-fight between youths from two different communities living nearby. General Service Unit (GSU) officers from the nearby Transmara camp, however, managed to stave off full-fledged skirmishes.
It is estimated that Sh50 million was lost in the fire, which mostly affected farmers from the Mashapa area.
Muntei Ole Kilusu, the farmers’ spokesman, said the government should step in to stop the constant arson attacks by young people from the neighbouring communities.
“We had been suffering losses for more than a year now, we want whoever is sending people to burn our farms to stop. We just want peace,” the elder told journalists after a day-long security meeting on Sunday.
Macarius Ole Momboshi, a youth, said strong winds fanned the flames, causing the fire to spread quickly.
Momboshi said several other farms in the sub-county had been targeted by arsonists in recent months, resulting in losses to the owners.
According to him, those involved in the incident were idlers who are up to no good.
He said the constant fires are causing a double tragedy for the community since most of them have abandoned pastoralist lifestyles in favour of farming.
“Most of us have since sold off cows to start farming. To make matters worse, factories have since passed laws to reject burnt cane,” Momboshi told journalists.
The farmers requested the government conduct investigations into the fire incidents and arrest the suspects.
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