Fears as gangs invade land owned by widows

Mama Zainab Mohammed Khator (seated), one of the land owners in Kanamai Majengo village in Kilifi County, speaking to the media yesterday. [Gideon Maundu, Standard]
Land invasion and irregular occupation by knife-wielding gangs has hit parts of Kilifi putting landowners and security agents in dilemma.

Kilifi South Police Commander Esau Ochorokodi said the gangs were targeting parcels owned by the elderly and widows some who have been forced to flee from their homes.

“It is a well-crafted illegal enterprise because after invading and putting up structures they rush to court to seek orders to stop the police from flushing them out,” said Ochorokodi.

Sparked tension

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The re-emergency of the invasion in Kanamai, Takaungu and Majengo areas of Kilifi South has sparked tension and fears with security agencies claiming that influential people were behind it.

Felistus Kiptoo, a widow, has been forced to flee her 78-acre land after more than 20 youths invaded her home and threatened her.

Ms Kiptoo provided documents which indicates that the land plot belongs to her late husband, John Kimogut Kiptoo.

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“They (gang) burnt my restaurant and threatened to kill me. I’ve been hiding in the forest. I reported the case at Kijipwa Police Station,” said shell-shocked Kiptoo.

On Friday, the villagers especially those leaving near the beach said they were reports the gangs plan to invade their land.

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Another widow, Aluya Saiban, claimed that a group of youths also visited her home and demanded that she moves out of her two-acre land failure to which she will be killed.

“We have reported the case at Kijipwa Police Station, but the gangs appears determined to root us out of my farm,” said Saiban, adding that land invasion had reached alarming levels.

The Standard has established that the gangs have also invaded Government land and other parcels owned by the Islamic foundation, Waqfu.

According to Answer Salim Mohamed, Supreme Council of Imams (Supkem) chairman claims part of the land registered as Wakfu has been invaded.

According to police, more than 20 youths found to have invaded or threatened the locals have been arrested and arraigned in court, but released on bail.

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“Once they are released on bail they abscond. Several warrant of arrests have been issued, but were have not been able to trace them,” said Kilifi South Police Commander Esau Ochorokodi who claimed some businessmen linked to the gangs were under investigation.

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Land rowKilifi countyKilifi South