Police block squatters from land in Laikipia

Herders graze their cattle in Laikipia. A group of squatters was on Friday turned away from accessing a land in Laikipia by police. PHOTOS | EVANS HABIL | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Police in Laikipia blocked more than 3,000 squatters from accessing a piece of land they plan to purchase citing fear of clashes with herders.

The squatters, who are members of Kenya Squatters Social Forum Trust, had travelled from various parts of the country in buses but their journey was cut short by security officers nearly 20 kilometres to their destination.

Officials said the large group was likely to cause tension and even clashes since there are herders who have settled on the parcel that the squatters plan to buy.

“Though the police had been notified of the visit, we expected only officials to visit and not 3,000 people,” said Laikipia-East OCPD James Kithuka. 

George Koome, the chairman of the squatters group said they had invited members from ten counties to visit the 2,800-acre land located near Ngare ng’iro market along the Nanyuki-Rumuruti road.

“Our members have been making contributions after the government failed to resettle us. The land we intend to buy is registered under Aden Park Country Garden and the owners have agreed to substitute it with another one we intended to buy near Rumuruti town after our members rejected it,” said Mr Koome.

Political leaders in Laikipia County have been calling on absentee landlords to come and occupy their land as a way of pushing out migrating herders who have settled illegally on the farms.