The British government has issued a travel warning to its citizens about visiting Laikipia County over recent invasions of private ranches by herders.
The warning follows reports of several attacks on ranches by armed herders, who have moved from neighbouring counties in search of pasture due to the prolonged dry season.
The warning issued late Tuesday states in part: “Following an extended period of drought, there’s been an increase in armed incursions on to private farms and wildlife conservation areas in the county of Laikipia in central Kenya, which some foreign visitors have been caught up in.”
The UK clarified that the travel warning does not restrict its citizens from travelling to the region.
Unlike a travel advisory, which would restrict all but essential travel, the warning, referred to as a “factual update” in diplomatic circles, gives the nationals freedom to decide whether or not to travel to the region, according to Stephen Burns, the British High Commission’s head of communication in Kenya and Somalia.
“In this instance a factual update has (been) issued. The UK has not issued a travel advisory against Laikipia county,” he said in a statement.
The latest attack by herders happened on Sunday at the Suyian ranch in Laikipia North.
A lodge at the ranch was closed indefinitely after one herder was shot dead during a fire exchange with police officers.
In his tour of Laikipia and Samburu counties recently, President Uhuru Kenyatta warned pastoralists against invading private ranches.
Most herders from Samburu, Isiolo, Baringo and West Pokot counties, among others, have invaded Laikipia in search of pasture and water as the drought continues to ravage most parts of Kenya.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to clarify that under the travel warning, British citizens have the freedom to decide whether or not to travel to the affected region.