Police evict squatters from controversial land
Some 1, 000 families alleged to have been squatting on the 15, 000 acres Ndabibi-Kosovo land in Gilgil that has been marred with controversy over the last decade have been forcefully evicted by police.
The victims remained stranded after their homes were demolished on Thursday, months after a court order restraining the families from occupying the land was served.
The parcel of land was formerly owned by the Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC) and straddles Nakuru and Narok Counties but was alleged to have been duly purchased by influential politicians during the Kenya African National Union and the current regimes.
Evictees say police raided their homes in pre-dawn hours of yesterday driving them away.
They said the land was their ancestral home and accused selfish politicians of grabbing it and using the police to intimidate them.
The disillusioned victims accused the government of treating them and their vulnerable children as second class citizens saying the eviction was carried out inhumanely and besides, they were not given adequate notice as prescribed by the law.
There has been heavy police presence on the controversy-ridden land for the last two days after weeks of simmering tension between squatting families and purported owners.
The Nakuru County Police Commander, Hassan Barua defended police, saying they were affecting a court order directing that the families be relocated to their places of origin to allow owners develop their land.
He said the government is facilitating transport of the victims to their areas of origin and cautioned residents against sensationalizing the operation saying it might escalate tension in the area that has in the past experienced communal conflicts over land.
However, Trusted Society of Human Rights Alliance Secretary General, George Narok urged the police to exercise their mandate in a compassionate manner for the sake of the most vulnerable people.
Narok called on the Government to consider an amicable and a bipartisan way of settling land driven conflicts instead of resulting to brutal ways such as evictions.
By Jane Ngugi /Dennis Rasto