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Police block squatters' Naivasha attempt to invade land

RIFT VALLEY
By Antony Gitonga | December 5th 2016

NAIVASHA: An attempt by over 100 squatters to invade the disputed ADC land in Naivasha was thwarted by armed police officers.

The security agents termed the move illegal.

The squatters, some of whom claim to be victims of the 2007/2008 post-election violence, had arrived in Gachuma village ready to occupy part of the expansive parcel.

The group from Subukia arrived in hired matatus, raising tension in the troubled area that has recorded seven deaths since the year began.

The invasion comes barely a fortnight after members of the Maasai community, who for years have claimed ownership of the land, withdrew a case from the High Court.

According to Naivasha sub-county Deputy Commissioner John Opondo, the move had raised unnecessary anxiety in the region.

Opondo said they had been forced to repulse the squatters to avert any crisis, noting the authenticity of the group was unknown.

"The group claims to be the former owner of this land and we have ordered it out and advised the people on how to go about it," he said.

Opondo said since the Maasai decided to withdraw the protracted land case, the area had been very calm and they were keen on maintaining peace.

One of the squatters, Jeremiah Wambugu, said they were evicted from the area back in 2000, adding that the parcel belonged to them.

He alleged that through a land buying group, they had bought a section of the land from the ADC management before they were kicked out when violence broke out.

Meanwhile, residents of Mai Mahiu and Satellite in Naivasha have called on the government to release the area's official standard gauge railway route.

They noted some people claiming to be state officers were criss-crossing the area claiming to be surveying the route.

A farmer, Justin Wambugu, said there were many maps indicating where the railway line would pass.

He said some people had taken advantage of the confusion to con residents, saying the railway line would pass through their farms.

"Some surveyors are looking for money with the promise that they will divert the railway line that could be passing through people's farms," he said.

Wambugu noted that since the project started, the government was yet to release the official map thus causing confusion among residents.

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