Chepchoina land dispute leaves 200 displaced, houses torched

Residents of Teret Village in Njoro, Nakuru county inspecting several houses burnt on January 29,2018.
Tension is high following renewed clashes at Chepchoina farm in Trans Nzoia County after about 200 squatters were left homeless when their houses were torched.

Three cows were also shot dead by unknown people and local leaders have now intervened in a bid to restore calm.

Claim ownership

The Chepchoina farm has been at the centre of land disputes every planting season as squatters fight for parcels of land on which they can claim ownership of and go ahead to plant maize.

SEE ALSO :Over 800 squatters to get free tittle deeds for Kayole land

Outsiders and brokers also intrude, resulting to a number of people being displaced and property destroyed.

In renewed daytime clash on Thursday, an unknown number of people raided villages and set ablaze about 15 houses that belonged to Kamtel village occupants.

Some residents have been forced to migrate to neighbouring Uganda, fearing for their lives.

Rael Korerwong, 57, who has lived for 15 years at Chepchoina farm said she lost her property after an unknown number of people raided and torched her house.

“We want the government to help us solve this land dispute; I have lived here and my children know this place as home,” she said.

SEE ALSO :Ministry ordered to hand over schools to churches

Krop John, also a local, said the land issue is in court and wondered why they are oppressed every year by land brokers, who only appear during planting season and chase them away.

“I have lived here for more than 24 years. There is need for calm as the court decision is made. We are tired of conflicts between the government and squatters year in year out,” he said.

The locals spoke during a meeting between West Pokot and Trans Nzoia counties.

Endebes Sub-county Deputy County Commissioner Peter Maina said the land dispute has been there for years and assured residents of security.

He said he has a list of squatters occupying the farm, and that there is triple allocation of land, which results to conflicts.

SEE ALSO :County rolls out family planning

West Pokot Governor John Lonyangapuo said those who lost their property and livestock in the Thursday attack would be compensated.

He urged locals from different tribes to accommodate each other even as authorities seek a solution that will protect every individual’s rights.

West Pokot Senator Samuel Poghisio said security officers should investigate the land brokers since they were causing conflict by using their money to oppress the poor.

He said the land is historical and that there is need for the government to provide security for the people and their property until the matter is resolved.

“Why did they have to shoot the cows, the court order states that there is status quo in distribution of land.

SEE ALSO :Widow in battle to claim land

Some people might use the courts to oppress others - we should not politicise the land issue so that the first occupants of the land are displaced,” he said.

land disputesquattersTrans Nzoia