Nairobi (AFP) – Italian-born conservationist and writer Kuki Gallman was Sunday seriously injured after being shot in her conservation park in Kenya’s drought-stricken centre.
The 73-year-old, whose best-selling autobiography “I Dreamed of Africa” was made into a film with Kim Basinger playing Gallman, was “shot in the stomach during an attack” at the sprawling Laikipia Nature Conservancy, a senior police officer said.
Gallman was “airlifted to Nairobi in a military chopper,” the officer said, adding that the attackers appeared to be raiders from the Pokot ethnic race which is spread across Kenya and eastern Uganda.
Gallman also ran a luxury lodge in her reserve but it was burned down by cattle raiders in March.
Violence has peaked in Kenya’s Rift Valley in the past weeks following tensions and clashes involving semi-nomadic cattle herders following the drought. At least 30 people have died since December.
In the Laikipia region, thousands of herders — some armed with spears and automatic weapons — have illegally entered private ranches and reserves in search of pastures for their flock of cows, sheep and goats.
A British farmer was killed on March 6 while inspecting the damage caused by herders on his ranch.
Some attribute the growing tensions to drought while others say they are a result of racially charged language used by some politicians ahead of a general election due in August.