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Prison warders injure Kiambu county askaris in sh200m land row

COUNTIES
By Kamau Maichuhie | July 30th 2015

KIAMBU: Eight county askaris are fighting for their lives at Thika Level 5 Hospital after they were allegedly attacked by prison warders.

A row has been brewing between the county government and Thika GK Prison over construction of a Sh200 million dual carriage.

Construction of the multi-million shilling dual carriageway in Thika town was recently launched by the county government to ease heavy traffic that has become a nightmare for motorists and residents.

The prison management has, however, raised objections over plans to have a section of the three kilometre road pass through the prison's land.

The injured county askaris were part of a group sent to escort the bulldozer, that was supposed to start the road construction, only to be attacked by prison warders stationed at the disputed land.

Speaking to the Press, county askaris Deputy Head Peter Kiama said they cheated death by a whisker since the prison warders started firing at them immediately they set foot on the  land.

He said the warders detained four county askaris for more than an hour at the prison premises where they were beaten mercilessly before being released.

"The law should take its course. All my officers who were injured have recorded statements with the police and appropriate action should be taken against those people who wanted to take their lives," he said.

Speaking to The Standard, Roads Chief Officer Lucas Wahinya said survey maps in the county government's possession clearly show that the disputed land is actually a road reserve.

He said even if they have to use force, they will ensure the road is constructed since it is for the public's good.

TRAFFIC MENACE

"The land the prison is laying claim to is a public asset which was left for the purpose of building access roads in and out of Thika town," Mr Wahinya said.

Administration Chief Officer in-charge Dominic Gicheru, also faulted prison authorities for blocking the project, but said they are do so under instigation from local politicians.

"This is pure politics. A few politicians are not happy with our decision to get rid of the perennial traffic jam since it will deny them something to politic about," he said.

However, in a swift rejoinder, prison head Samson Kunzu denied the allegations and maintained the county was encroaching on prison land without authority from the Interior ministry -the custodian of prison land countrywide.

"We are not against this project. All we are saying is let due process be followed.

Allow both Interior Ministry and county government surveyors to come to the ground and ascertain where the road is supposed to pass," Mr Kunzu said.

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