Workers injured in fight over disputed land in Voi

Sparkle Properties Limited conducted demolitions at the disputed land in Msambweni leaving thousands of squatters homeless. [Courtesy, KinyanBoy X]

Several workers of Sparkle Properties Limited were attacked and injured by residents for allegedly fencing off the disputed Msambweni land in Voi town.

On Friday, some 3,500 squatters were evicted from the land, sparking an outcry that led to the transfer of some police officers from Coast.

Yesterday, tension ran high as police patrolled the 54.26-hectares land which is now a no-go zone.

The squatters claim ancestral ownership of the land lying along the SGR line.

Witnesses said the workers were attacked and seriously injured before the police arrived and rescued them

Kaloleni Ward Representative Msabweni Azhar Din said a number of the workers were beaten while working at the site.

“I have been told that some angry people descended on the workers and seriously injured them. I saw one of the workers bleeding profusely,” he said.

On Sunday, irate squatters kicked out elected leaders from the area, accusing them of failing to stop the eviction, even as it emerged that some politicians were beneficiaries of the disputed land.

One of the elected leaders is claimed to have six acres of land at Msambweni.

ACK Diocese of Taita Taveta Bishop Liverson Mng’onda visited the scene yesterday and condemned the incident as barbaric and inhuman.

At least 100 ACK faithful have been affected by the eviction.

“Locals have used their retirement benefits to invest in the disputed plot and their resources have gone to waste following the eviction, “said Rev Mng’onda.

Speaking at Msambweni, the bishop said some of the victims, including children and the elderly, had known the land as their ancestral home but had now been rendered homeless.

“Where were the leaders when the eviction was being implemented? They remained silent as people were being flushed out and should stop shedding crocodile tears. They have been silent as people are suffering and sleeping hungry... they have failed in their mandate,” noted Mng’onda.

Sh200 million property is reported to have been destroyed during the eviction.

County Commissioner Josephine Onunga said the company had court orders.

 “There was a ruling in 2022 which residents appealed and lost. Early this year, the company got an eviction order which was effected on Saturday,” said Onunga.

“The Judiciary is supreme and ours is to maintain law and order. The eviction was a private affair,” Onunga told The Standard.

Faid Abed, a director at the company, said the squatters had been given a 90-day notice, which had eleapsed.

He said 90 per cent of the houses had been flattened to pave way for the development. “We gave local leaders time to negotiate with us but they did not. Some of them are beneficiaries of our plot.