Children out of school, residents homeless after night evictions

Children are now staying home after the demolition of a school built on disputed land at Kanagoni village in Magarini sub-County.

Amani Primary School was among structures that were brought down last Wednesday during an eviction led by a private developer.

Kalume Kazungu, a village elder, said the new school with a population of about 40 children, houses that accommodated about 260 families were demolished.

"The school was demolished at night. Right now, about 40 children are no longer going to school," said Kazungu. 

Mohamed Sallat has claimed ownership of the disputed land. However, locals say they were forced off the 700-acre land at night without any warning, despite having lived there for many years.

Those evicted are living in temporary structures, and they fear the deplorable conditions puts them at risk of contracting diseases.

"We are trapped here. We don't have anywhere to go. We don't have anywhere to farm. We don't have food and water because our water tanks and boreholes were destroyed during the eviction," Katana Charo, a resident.

Rehema Kea, a mother of four, said her youngest daughter had developed a chest infection due to sleeping in the open.

"We are struggling with life. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring because of the dire situation. We want President William Ruto to intervene," said Ms Kea.

The evictees also claimed to have received threats while camping in the area. But Kamale assistant chief Justine Furaha said the residents have been living as squatters since they do not have land ownership papers.

"The rightful owner of this land bought it from the residents many years ago. I am not aware if he was given an eviction order by the court," said Furaha.  

Pictures by Marion Kithi.