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Evictions, arrests from land continue in Taveta

By Renson Mnyamwezi | Published Thu, March 8th 2018 at 00:00, Updated March 7th 2018 at 23:38 GMT +3
Activist says thousands have fled fearing arrest and beatings by police. [Renson Mnyamwezi, Standard]

Three youths have been arrested by the police as evictions from the disputed Sir Ramson Farm in Taveta sub-county entered the fifth day.

Two of the suspects were arrested yesterday while the third one was arrested on Sunday at his parents’ home.

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It was not possible to establish the fate of the trio because police have imposed a media ban since the operation began.

There has been an exodus from the troubled 2,300-acre Sir Ramson Farm in Taita Taveta County since the police operation began last Monday.

Houses flattened

Morris Mutiso, a local activist, yesterday told The Standard on telephone that police officers flattened several houses after giving squatters two hours to gather their property and leave.

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On Monday, Lumi Primary School was shut down and pupils withdrawn.

Mr Mutiso said: “Thousands have fled fearing arrest and beatings and are living in abandoned houses, with relatives or at Njukini shopping centre.”

He said most of the victims had no water and food.

Yesterday, Taveta OCPD Simon Gababa Darso declined to discuss the arrests, saying he was not in charge of the operation.

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The eviction from the farm, which is part of Ziwani Settlement Scheme in Taveta sub-county, is being carried out to prevent further destruction of the water catchment area. Government officials want the thousands of squatters living on the land settled elsewhere.

But the squatters claim the alternative land promised by the Government on the scheme is non-existent.

Clashes between security forces and the squatters have led to several deaths in the past.