In this image from a video footage taken on 3 May 2000 in New York, the Italian-born author and conservationist Kuki Gallmann speaks during an interview. Gallmann was shot at her Kenya ranch and airlifted for treatment after herders invaded in search of pasture to save their animals from drought, officials said Sunday, 23 April 2017. Photo: AP Photo

By Jeffery Gettleman
23 April 2017

NAIROBI, Kenya (The New York Times) – Kuki Gallmann could feel the ring of danger tightening around her.

Over the past few days, Mrs. Gallmann, one of Kenya’s most famous conservationists and the author of the best-selling book. I Dreamed of Africa, sent me a flurry of increasingly distressed text messages. Heavily armed pastoralists had invaded her ranch in northern Kenya and were edging closer and closer to her house.

“Pokot militia openly carrying firearms,” she wrote in one message. (The Pokot are an ethnic group in northern Kenya.) “Not just herders. Group of armed men without livestock. 13 firearm spotted.”

A few days later, she sent another message that said, “2 Arsons by herders and shooting reported.” She added in a separate bubble: “Fire ongoing.”

On Sunday morning, Mrs. Gallmann, 73, was driving across her vast ranch to visit a lodge that the raiders had just ransacked. That lodge was one of her most beloved spots, the favorite place of her son, who died years ago from a snakebite. She was being escorted by wildlife rangers.

As she drove back from the lodge in her car, with the wildlife rangers chugging along behind her, she saw a group of raiders on a hill, friends said. Several shots were fired. One bullet flew through her door. Mrs. Gallmann was hit in the hip, and the bullet sliced upward through her torso, leaving her gravely wounded.

Over the next few hours, wildlife rangers, a British Army field medic and doctors in Nairobi, the capital, raced to save her life. By Sunday evening, close friends said, she had emerged from surgery in stable condition but with extensive internal damage. The next few days could be critical, they said.

The attack on Mrs. Gallmann was the latest sign of the chaos and violence ripping through northern Kenya, an area celebrated for its wondrous wildlife but plagued by lawlessness. Thousands of armed pastoralists have swept in from other parts of the country that have been afflicted by drought.

The pastoralists say they need more land to graze their animals, and in recent years they have frequently harassed farmers and ranchers, hoping to push them out. The violence has been worsening and has reached new heights this year.

Last month, herdsmen shot and killed a British rancher in Laikipia, the same ruggedly beautiful area north of Nairobi where Mrs. Gallmann lives. More than a dozen people have been killed in the area, and property damage has run into the millions of dollars.

Gangs of young herders have been stirred by local politicians to invade other people’s land. Several politicians have recently been arrested. But given that official corruption is a crippling problem in Kenya, most analysts do not hold out much hope that any of the ringleaders will be seriously punished. [more]

Kuki Gallmann, ‘I Dreamed of Africa’ Author, Is Shot in Kenya


By Tom Odula
23 April 2017

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) – The Italian-born author and conservationist Kuki Gallmann was shot at her Kenyan ranch and airlifted for treatment after herders invaded in search of pasture to save their animals from drought, officials said Sunday.

Gallmann, known for her bestselling book "I Dreamed of Africa," which became a movie by the same name starring Kim Basinger, was patrolling the ranch in Laikipia when she was shot in the stomach, local police chief Ezekiel Chepkowny said.

The 73-year-old Gallmann had been with rangers from the Kenya Wildlife Service, assessing damage done to her property Saturday by arsonists who burned down buildings at one of Laikipia Nature Conservancy's tourism lodges, said Laikipia Farmers Association chairman Martin Evans.

After the attack, the rangers transported her to a location where she could be airlifted to Nanyuki town, Evans said. British Army medics attended to her before she was airlifted to the capital, Nairobi, he said. [more]

Author and conservationist Kuki Gallmann shot in Kenya

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