Donkeys in Wajir town are missing in droves, thanks to a new donkey slaughterhouse in Naivasha.
At first, residents were happy with the decrease in the number of stray donkeys in the town, until three months ago when donkey cart operators reported to the local authorities of their missing beasts of burden.
Osman Abera is a popular donkey cart operator in Wajir. He inherited the business from his father more than 25 year ago.
I am finding it hard to cope, he told KNA in an interview, adding,the number of stray donkeys have sharply decreased save for few with deformities.
I have never known any other business since I came of age and my children are sleeping hungry for the first time,” he narrates, visibly shocked by the turn of events.
He was flanked by two women who used the donkey carts to collect firewood, who are also desperate.
The woods are my source of livelihood, Mama Ithila Mohamed states with a bitter tone.
I am bitter because someone has decided to end our source of livelihood to the delight of the Chinese traders, she added.
At Orahey, the local livestock market, herders could be seen moving their animals for sale.
However, according to one middleman at the market, the number of donkeys offered for sale at the market have dwindled significantly as their price skyrocketed.
Since the news of the donkey slaughter-house in Naivasha was received in Wajir, donkey owners have begun selling their animals to the Chinese for a considerable amount observed Saman Mahat, a middleman for over a decade.
The donkeys used to cost about Sh. 10,000 at the local market rate, but not anymore.
I tried to buy another donkey after mine was stolen but the price has gone up from Sh 10,000 to Sh 16,000, said Mama Ithila.
In August, police in Abakore in South Wajir intercepted 17 donkeys suspected to have been stolen and loaded on a lorry destined for the Naivasha donkey abattoir.
The officers were tipped off by locals in Habaswein who reported the missing donkeys.
Source: Kenya News Agency