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Police pursue youths after violent raid at Mombasa burial

By Philip Mwakio | Published Sun, February 4th 2018 at 00:00, Updated February 4th 2018 at 19:01 GMT +3
Kisauni OCPD Christopher Rotich

Several people are nursing deep cut wounds following an attack by a gang of armed youths in Kisauni constituency.

Kisauni OCPD Christopher Rotich said police had launched investigations into the Saturday night attack in Falcon, Mishomoroni.

Reports indicate the gang invaded a funeral vigil near Savannah Hospital in Magogoni ward in Kisauni constituency, where they slashed and robbed mourners and residents in a rampage that lasted hours.

The wounded were treated in local hospitals.

According to Junda Ward MCA Raphael Musumba, the attackers are being pursued by police.

"We received reports the attackers fled towards my ward as police closed in and we are afraid they could be hiding here and planning fresh attacks," said Mr Musumba.

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Kisauni constituency is one of Mombasa's most dangerous neighbourhoods and is known to host rival gangs that often attack each other, terrorise and extort impoverished residents.

CLOSING IN

Police said they were closing in on the gang.

"We have launched investigations and already police are following useful leads," said the Kisauni OCPD. However, there were no reports of arrests by yesterday afternoon.

Saturday's incident was not the first time that gangs of armed youths attacked and terrorised residents in the larger Kisauni.

Last year witnessed a number of similar incidents, including several revenge attacks after gang members were felled by police or lynched by mobs.

The most recent attack left behind a trail of blood and destruction.

One of the survivors, Raphael Samuel, a kiosk owner, is nursing deep cuts on his arm and head after he was slashed and beaten up by the attackers as he was preparing vegetables for his clients.

"They were too many and managed to subdue me... they cut me on the head and arms," he said.

In Lamu County, police arrested more than 20 people who had invaded a disputed parcel of land.

Tension had been growing after some residents demanded a portion of a 100-acre property that is currently hosting a church.

Riot police stormed the disputed land near Mokowe Hospital and dispersed the invaders. Several people, including the local chief, were injured in the fracas.

"As we speak now I am in bed nursing injuries. I was assaulted by four youths when I tried to prevent them from taking over the land," said the area chief, Khalif Alwy.

He said the violence was sparked by an attempt to invade private property.

Acting Lamu police commandant Gideon Mugambi told The Standard that seven men and an equal number of women were arrested yesterday morning. Six machetes were recovered from them, Mr Mugambi said.

The commandant said about 50 attackers stormed a church on the property, disrupting Sunday services before the police moved in.

Those arrested were taken to Mokowe jetty and loaded into boats and ferried to Lamu island Police Station for questioning.

Sources said the dispute started about five years ago when local leaders insisted that the land must be properly surveyed and space for roads and other public amenities set aside before villagers from the crowded Mokowe old town could be relocated to the new site.

Villagers attributed the invasion to population pressure and growing apprehension, triggered by ongoing construction of the Lamu County headquarters.

“There has been rising pressure among youths to occupy plots numbering about 6,000 in the new site because people from outside Mokowe have been allowed to build homes while locals are crowded in the old town,” said one villager, Ahmed Masuo 

Last week, local leaders led by Hindi assistant county commissioner, William Magiri, toured the village and urged locals to refrain from land invasions.

DEFIED ORDERS

But the raiders yesterday defied the order claiming they were ready to have their houses demolished instead of watching influential people build posh homes on the disputed land.

“We were the first communities to become Internally Displaced Persons in independent Kenya. We have lived as IDPs for the past 48 years,” said one of them.

Apart from the Mokowe land, residents have been scrambling for space in Musanga within Amu ranch and a number of farms in Mpeketoni and Witu sub-counties.

National Land Commission (NLC) chairman Muhammad Swazuri last week sounded an alarm on rising cases of invasion of public, private and community land and warned that these were illegal.

“Squatters should write to the commission to be allocated vacant parcels and not invade land because it is illegal,” said Dr Swazuri.

He said the problem was rampant in Mombasa, Kilifi, Kwale, Lamu, Nairobi, Nakuru, Kajiado, Machakos, Trans Nzoia and Kisumu.

 


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