South African investor storms Mosque in Taita wielding gun

TAITA, KENYA: Police have arrested a foreign investor for storming into a Mosque armed with a rifle and disrupting a prayer service in Taita-Taveta County on Wednesday morning.

Taveta Sub County Police Commander Lawrence Marwa confirmed the arrest and said the suspect would be taken to court once investigations are complete.

The police officer said the investor from South Africa identified as Arie Dempers who is also the Managing Director of Taveta Kisima Farm entered into the Mata village Mosque where he complained about ‘noise’ from the Mosque.

In the process, the suspect caused a disturbance, said Mr. Marwa.

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He said the house of the investor is 200 meters away from the Mosque.

“The suspect in our custody entered into the Mosque and demanded that worshipers reduce the sound of the communications system. We have arrested the suspect and will be arraigned soon. We will charge him of creating a disturbance,” said the police boss.

The terrified worshipers told The Standard that the suspect arrived in a vehicle and packed it outside before storming Mosque wielding a  pistol.

They noted that they watched in shock and disbelief as the threatening suspect disrupted the prayer service.

“We could not believe our eyes when the suspect stormed into the Mosque brandishing a pistol without uttering any word. He (suspect) went straight to the public address equipment (PAE) system and disconnected it,” said Muhdin Musa, an elder of the Mosque.

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Recently, the investor who had purchased about 1000 acres of land from former Taveta MP Basil Criticos displaced dozens of squatters.

Local leaders claim the affected squatters were left homeless at Python Hill, Eldoro and Mrabani in Taveta Sub County.

The investor bought the vast land and put up an electric fence to avert frequent squatter invasion. The land had of late been an epicenter of conflict between the squatters and the investor.

In an earlier interview, the investor said he was planning to grow food crops like maize among others and would rear dairy cattle and do some fish farming to not only improve food security but also create wealth and alleviate poverty in the area.

“We will provide many employment opportunities to the local community apart from providing water and entrepreneurial farming skills to transform the resident’s lives as part of our corporate social responsibility,” said Mr. Dempers.

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He told The Standard that Taveta was the main breadbasket of the Coast region but the potential had not fully been utilized for the benefit of the local community.

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