Conflict Management among Samburu PeopleCulture Samburu 

Conflict Management among Samburu People

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Samburu community is a nomadic community occupy Samburu County and some parts of Marsabit County

The Samburus’ nomadic lifestyle and cultural attachment to large herds of cattle have caused constant conflict between the Samburu and other communities into contact with. They have been in conflict with Rendille, Turkana, Pokot and Somali. In response to the security threat, the community has operationalized an elaborate customary mechanism for inter-ethnic conflicts prevention and management.

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Early Warning

Use of indigenous intelligence information among the Samburu community is not a new activity. Throughout their history, the community has sought the services of indigenous intelligence information experts to prevent and manage conflicts.

Studying of Goat intestines

The Samburu people are experts in reading and encoding intelligence information in goat intestines. Experienced elders can foretell danger by looking at the intestines of a goat.

After studying, analysing and verifying such information, the elders advice the community to take necessary pre-emptive actions including initiating inter-ethnic dialogues. Soothsayers (Laibons) prophesy and advice the community accordingly.

Peace Arrangements

As a means of preventing inter-ethnic conflicts, the Samburu community has entered into binding peace arrangements with their strategic neighbours. Thought this peace arrangements work they are for short-term peaceful coexistence.

Dialogue

Since time immemorial, Samburu community has engaged in dialogue with her neighbours either to prevent conflicts. In response to early warning and intelligence information community elders are mobilized to initiate inter-ethnic negotiations to prevent the conflicts.

Elders from the two warring communities come together and negotiate for an amicable solution to the existing conflict.

Use of charms, sorcery and witchcraft

The Samburu community also intimidate neighbouring communities using charms, charms, sorcery or witchcraft (laisi, laibonok), which are thought to be effective in disabling potential aggressors.

Samburu people believe that some specific individuals (laisi) are endowed with supernatural powers to curse aggressors or enemy soldiers. Laisi can spit on the enemy making confused or disabled.

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