Intruders cut down trees on State land in Nakuru

Locals demonstrate over the disputed Ampiva/Endao farm in Bahati. Tension is brewing on the 560 acre farm after several trees were cut by intruders. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]
Intruders have staked claim to land in Bahati whose ownership has been contested for the past 15 years.

The invaders are said to have stormed the Ampiva/Endau farm on Saturday night and cut down trees, claiming to have gotten permission from local administrators.

County Peace Coordinator Andrew Yatich said the intruders wanted to hive off part of the 560-acre land that is occupied by squatters.

“It beats logic for the police and administrators to supervise felling of trees on a parcel of land whose dispute has not been settled,” said Mr Yatich.

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But Bahati Deputy County Commissioner Kisilu Mutua dismissed allegations that they had supervised the cutting down of the trees.

“The trees that were cut were on a road reserve. We have launched investigations to find out who gave the order to chop them down,’ said Mr Mutua.

The Solai farm was owned by white settlers who sold it to locals in the 1970s. When wrangles erupted over how it would be sub-divided, the Government placed a caveat on the land thus limiting its development.

According to a letter by the Principal Registrar of Titles dated September 1, 2005, the land was reverted to the Government.

A visit by The Standard established the presence of more than 200 squatters who appealed to the National Land Commission to intervene and help resolve the land dispute amicably.

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Rose Khavere said she settled on the land in 1980 after working for a white settler who owned the land.

"We used to plant crops and keep livestock until 2003 when we were forced to stop farming, leaving us confused," said Ms Khavere.

She said their houses were burnt during the 2007/8 post-election violence but a UN agency came to their rescue and built semi-permanent structures for them.

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Land rowBahatiAmpiva/Endau farm