Man shot by police in dispute over 2,600-acre in Njoro

Leonard Kipkemoi (Centre) being helped onto a casualty stretcher at Rift Valley Provincial General Hospital on May 23, 2024 within Nakuru County after he was shot over a land dispute. [Daniel Chege, Standard]

The battle over possession of a 2,600-acre in Ngongongeri, Njoro Sub County within Nakuru County, has escalated after a man was shot by the police on Thursday.

Leonard Kipkemoi was shot after police officers attacked the members of Mosem Enterprise, who were grazing on the contested land.

The land is at the center of a legal dispute between members of the Enterprise, Egerton University, and a professor over its ownership.

Brian Rotich said police started shooting at them while they were grazing their animals.

“We were 25 of us. The officers shot in the air before aiming the gun at us and started shooting. We fled for our safety,” he said.

Rotich said they were not armed and they were not causing any trouble.

Obadiah Manywele said they were on the land because a court order had directed the police and the Professor to stop interfering with its ownership.

He said they went there after noticing that strangers were tilling the land.

“The police fled. We gave him first aid before we rushed him to Rift Valley Provincial General Hospital (PGH) for treatment,” said Manywele.

Kipkemoi sustained injuries on the left leg.

The hospital’s Medical Superintendent Dr James Waweru confirmed that the patient was in a stable condition and had been taken to the theatre for operations.

“The bullets are still in his thigh but he will undergo operations to repair the damage,” said Waweru.

The families now accuse the police of taking sides and using excessive force to settle a matter that is in court.

According to Chemoiywo Chepkwela, 80, a court order was issued in favour of the families but the police are ignoring it.

He said there was no way the officers could have gone to attack the civilians without authority from their bosses who had been summoned to court.

“It is not a coincidence that the attack happened the same time the police and administrative bosses from Njoro were summoned in court over disobedience of court orders,” he said.

Chepkwela, however, vowed not to leave the land.

Speaking to The Standard, Njoro Sub-County Police Commander Paul Wambugu said he was unaware of any shooting in his location.

Wambugu said if the families were aggrieved, they should go back to court and raise their complaint.

“I have not heard anything in my area about any shooting and I did not send my officers to any operations,” he said.

The case will be mentioned on May 28.