18 Dec 2019

Fauna / Vanishing herds: Cattle rustling in East Africa and the Horn

This paper explores reasons why cattle rustling persists and suggests practical ways of managing it.

High cost of East Africa's cattle rustling can no longer be ignored
©ENACT/Institute for Security Studies

Cattle rustling, a term widely accepted to mean livestock theft, has become a widespread and sometimes lethal practice in East Africa and the Horn of Africa regions. Once a traditional practice among nomadic communities, it has now become commercialised by criminal networks that often span communal and international borders and involve a wide range of perpetrators. This paper explores reasons why the problem persists despite national and regional efforts to stem it and suggests some practical ways of managing it.

About the authors

Lead researcher Deo Gumba, ENACT Regional Organised Crime Observatory Coordinator for East Africa, has carried out policy research and published on a wide range of issues related to security and transnational organised crime.

Nelson Alusala has been a Senior Research Consultant at ENACT and an expert on disarmament and security sector reform at the ISS. He has carried out extensive research into security and transnational organised crime, especially arms trafficking.

Andrew Gitau Kimani is an independent researcher and scholar. A practitioner with the Government of Kenya for many years, he lectures on pastoralism, security, criminology and crime scene management at Kenyatta University and Masinde Muliro University in Kenya.

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