Bestselling writer Kuki Gallmann was wounded while patrolling her ranch in central Kenya. Suspicion has fallen on drought-stricken cattle herders who have been known to drive their animals onto private farms and ranches.
The Italian-born 73-year-old was flown to hospital for treatment Sunday after being shot by gunmen at her conservation park in Laikipia region.
She was in a vehicle which was patrolling the park when she was shot in the stomach, local authorities said. Gallmann, a well-known conservationist, wrote a bestselling 1991 memoir titled "I Dreamed of Africa," which was made into a film of the same name starring Kim Basinger.
The head of the Laikipia Farmers' Association, Martin Evans, condemned the attack.
"Dozens of people have been killed or wounded and subjected to robbery and vandalism of their property. Kuki is a world famous author and conservationist - but the LFA urges sympathy for all."
Drought and conflict
Kenya is facing a widespread drought that has been declared a national disaster. In recent months, armed cattle-herders in the stricken Lakipia region have driven tens of thousands of cattle onto privately-held land as they search for places to graze their animals. Local Kenyan farmers have also come under attack or had their livestock stolen.
The attack on Gallmann comes amid a series of violent skirmishes in the area including the fatal shooting of former British army officer and lodge owner Tristan Voorspuy, who was 61. He had been on his way to inspect a burned-down building when he was killed in early March. A luxury hotel on the 100,000 acre (400 square kilometer) Gallmann property was also burned down last month.
Kenyan security forces have been working to disarm and drive the herders out of the farms.
Many residents of the area accuse local politicians of inciting violence ahead of elections planned for August by promising supporters access to private land and trying to drive out voters who might oppose them.
se/jlw (Reuters, dpa, AP)