Media and conflict resolution: the case of Cattle Rustling in Northern Kenya
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This Northern Kenya case study is an example of armed violence in the periphery, in the remote, semi-arid northern districts of the country. The economy is principally dependent upon pastoralism, and armed violence is mostly associated with livestock raiding. This case study focuses on two contrasting counties of northern Kenya: Turkana in the north-west, which has endured a particularly intense couple of decades of armed violence and the Pokot.Although livestock raiding is an inherent feature of the pastoralist economy, it appears to have become increasingly violent since the early 1980s as small arms became more widely available. It is now associated with higher and less discriminate loss of human life and greater livestock losses. The conflict dynamics that fuel livestock raiding are complex and extend far beyond a simple 'competition for scarce resources' model. The weakness of government, specifically of state security institutions, means that criminal activity can flourish, particularly in the form of 'commercialized' livestock raiding. Instability has sometimes been encouraged for electoral purposes. The wider regional dynamics are also critical, as northern Kenya borders with Uganda, Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia, all of which have had, or are currently experiencing violent civil wars. They are thus associated with lawlessness and the unchecked flow of small arms. The use of arms in northern Kenya has to be understood in this wider context.