Squatter-occupied 460-acre tract at centre of 2021 killings of 3

The late Mr Sidik Anwarali Sumra

The late Sidik Anwarali Sumra at his Kikambala-Amkeni farm.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Land measuring 460 acres was at the centre of the 2021 murder of tycoon Sidik Anwarali Sumra, his driver and a land agent, the High Court heard yesterday.

The land in Kilifi County is occupied by hundreds of squatters, who turned against Sumra, Rahil Kasmani and James Kazungu, killing them in Junju village over eviction fears.

But it was not clear from witnesses who testified in court whether Sumra was interested in the entire land or a portion of it.

They said several meetings had been held in an attempt to address the fears of eviction after the three had been spotted in the area.

Evans Mwangala testified that before the killings, there had been claims that Sumra had purchased a property referred to as plot number 72.

“A meeting was then held in 2020, followed by a visit to land offices to confirm if the property had indeed been sold and to whom,” he said but clarified these took place in his absence.

Days later he received a call from Robert Mwagosha, who informed him that former Junju ward MCA Onesmus Karisa Gambo had important information he wanted to share.

Mr Gambo is among eight suspects charged with the murder of the three people.

“Gambo told Mwagosha there were people who were to come and asked him to accompany them,” he said.

Mr Mwagosha, the witness said, was to accompany the three people to the plot to help them identify the beacons of a small portion of land on parcel land no 72.

“However, Mwagosha refused to work with those people and the exercise did not proceed,” the witness told High Court Judge Anne Ong’injo.

At some point, he said, about 15 people converged at Mr Gambo’s residence to discuss the plot.

“Mr Gambo stood up and told us that the people who had come to identify the beacons had claimed that they have a portion on plot no 72,” he said.

Mr Mwagosha was to accompany them to identify the exact portions of the land but he refused.

According to the witness, an official search at the lands registry office in Mombasa indicated that the file for the plot was under lock and key.

After this, he said he went to Tana River County, where he has a piece of land.

“I later learned about the murder of the three people through the media,” he said.     

Mr Gambo is charged alongside Mr Mwagosha, Kennedy Mwangemi Shume, Victor Kole (alias Ngate), Daniel Karisa (alias Mboso), Anthoney Wanje (alias Mganga), Laban Mwatata and Cliff Ngombo.

They are accused of killing the three persons on July 7, 2021 in Junju village, Kilifi South sub-county.

The court heard that the suspects had been spotted at the scene where the three were killed and their vehicle set ablaze.

The state alleges that the suspects also played a key role in moving the bodies from the crime scene to another location.

The suspects are out on a Sh500,000 bond each, except the ninth suspect, Mzungu Shume Mwangemi (alias Said Chote), who was denied bond for being a perennial offender.

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