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Land cartels to blame for Athi River violence that claimed 3 lives

NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 24 – Land grabbers are to blame for the three lives lost in Athi River, in Machakos County as established by Capital FM News.

Over 14 groups, being financed by politicians and another one led by a Kayole based private developer all claim a share in over 10,000 acres East African Portland Cement land.

Fridays killings are not the first since last year 15 people were killed over the same dispute.

All the time, gullible Kenyans are caught up in melees as hired goons face off over land belonging to the government.

Local police say their hands have been tied by court orders acquired by all groups claiming a share of the land.

According to Athi River Police boss Sharma Wario, the land has been raided by grabbers who have been fleecing gullible Kenyans by selling parcels that belong to Portland.

“Kenyans have been fleeced millions of shillings by these people, ” he lamented during an interview with Capital FM News.

“East African Portland land doesn’t belong to individuals… Kenyans should be warned.”

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He said Friday’s violence erupted after a group of over a hundred youths were ferried from Githurai, Baba Dogo, Zimmerman and Kasarani areas, to go and fence off a section of the land.

The group encountered another one consisting of locals, who Wario says have as well invaded the land, resulting in a violent confrontation.

While the local group was armed with arrows the Nairobi group came with machetes.

The Nairobi group barricaded the busy Mombasa highway before proceeding to demolish several structures that have been put up.

Police, however, moved in before the violence escalated, arrested over 100 youths who were taken to Machakos Police station.

“They were all young youths some below the age of 18… They’re being misused by these criminals, ” Wario said. “We literary forced one group into a lorry while the other followed us in Machakos.”

The three who were killed had hijacked a minibus, in a bid to escape after it occurred to them that they would be overwhelmed by the local groups.

A group of boda boda riders followed the vehicle until they caught up with them at a place where there was a traffic jam, and proceeded to kill them using arrows and stones.

“Those whom we arrested were even thanking us because they could have been killed all of them,” he said.

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“It is very sad that there is a court order barring police from interfering with them but we could not seat and watch two groups kill each other. This is unacceptable and that is why we moved in to restore law and order.

We have court orders barring us not to interfere… we will engage the court to see whether there will be a lasting solution.”

He said that “this land they are fighting over does not belong to them. The land is rightfully owned by the East African Portland company. People just come buy the land, they are not given title deeds, no allotment letter, no search is conducted…”

Wario pointed out that there are already land brokers from the “other places” who are “busy” selling the land.

Athi River Deputy Commissioner Geoffrey Omondi cautioned politicians against using youths to fight over,”what they know is not theirs. This is a war in futility.”

“Most of these people we arrested today are very young boys,” he said.”This an election year and we don’t want our youths to be misused by criminals.”

The youths had been paid Sh500 to go and execute the deadly mission.

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