Reducing Armed Violence in Pastoralist Communities
March 22, 2017

Armed violence within pastoralist communities in Northern Kenya has been on the rise as the region grapples with drought and food scarcity. The most recent attack left almost a dozen people dead after cattle herders using assault weapons targeted ranches in the area. The rising of armed violence among pastoralist communities has drawn international attention after a British army veteran was shot dead as he inspected lodges burned by attackers just days before. In response, the Kenyan government has deployed troops to disarm cattle herders and restore peace and stability in the region.

Shadrack Kipyatich Yatum , who was shot in his left arm and had his livestock stolen by cattle raiders, near Tot Centre. Photo credit: Rashid Kimani Mungai /Winds of Change

Shadrack Kipyatich Yatum , who was shot in his left arm and had his livestock stolen by cattle raiders, near Tot Centre. Photo credit: Rashid Kimani Mungai /Winds of Change

 

A recent report published by Control Arms and Pace University on How the Arms Trade Treaty can Address Armed Violence in Pastoralist Communities, argues against militarized responses to armed violence among pastoralist communities, as they often exacerbate the situation, introducing new weapons (that enter the illicit market sector through theft or sale) and extrajudicial violence, while diverting important resources away from sustainable development. Instead, the report recommends more effective arms regulations that would curb the availability of small arms and light weapons which have helped in exacerbating these attacks. It highlights how the effective universalization and rigorous implementation of the ATT can limit the risks of diversion of guns and ammunition to militias, gangs, and cattle raiders. The ATT offers a useful policy framework for preventing arms flows from contributing to cattle raiding, instability, human rights violations and gender-based violence in pastoralist communities.