Man shot dead in Nakuru's Ngongongeri farm as ownership controversy rages

The residents identified the assailant as a medical doctor based in Nairobi.

Monday March 14 2016

Administration Police officers prevent members

Administration Police officers prevent members of the Ogiek community from accessing the troubled Ngongongeri farm in Njoro, Nakuru County, on March 13, 2016 after a man was shot dead. Both the Ogiek and Tugen communities are claiming a stake in the farm hived off from a forest de-gazetted in 1997. PHOTO | SULEIMAN MBATIAH | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By MAGDALENE WANJA
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One person was shot dead Sunday evening at Ngongongeri farm in Njoro, Nakuru County, as the controversy surrounding the ownership of the land escalated.

It is alleged that a civilian gun holder shot and killed Stephen Munyereri as he attempted to salvage the remains of his son’s home, which had been set ablaze at the height of the attacks last week.

According to the residents, Mr Munyereri was in the process of collecting some fencing materials in the homestead when a man believed to be the legal owner of the piece of land showed up and confronted him.

“They started arguing on who the owner of some fencing poles was before the man drew his gun and shot him (Munyereri) twice,” said Ms Sarah Osas.

The residents identified the man as a medical doctor based in Nairobi who owns a piece of land in the expansive 26,000 acres farm.

On Thursday last week, Rift Valley Regional Coordinator Wanyama Musiambo instructed the police to pull down all the structures that had been illegally put up on the land.

The incident triggered tension in the area, prompting police to intervene.

Nessuit Ward Rep Samuel Kipkemoi Tonui, who visited the farm one hour after the incident, said he had met the deceased earlier in the day who told him that he was contemplating evacuating his family from the farm as he feared for his life.

Members of the Ogiek community who lay claim to the land have accused the government of taking sides in the conflict.

“The government officials have been calling meetings with members of the Tugen, leaving out the Ogieks, who are also part of the conflict,” said Mr Simon Muchura.

KEEP AWAY INVADERS

On Thursday, Mr Musiambo, who spoke at the troubled farm, called on all owners of parcels of land to develop them to keep away invaders.

The administrator said the invaders identify undeveloped parcels of land and start putting up temporary structures as a way of speculation before fully occupying them.

Mr Musiambo said it was important for people who legally own the parcels of land to develop them so as to keep away invaders from the farm.

“We are going to provide full security in the farm and the owners of the land should come immediately and start developing their areas,” he said.

Mr Musiambo said by this, anyone who may be claiming ownership of a certain parcel of land that is already developed will be required to go to court to prove his case.

He said that some State officers were involved in the ongoing intercommunity conflicts on the land.

On Friday, four suspects arrested in connection with the Wednesday attacks, among them a nominated member of the county assembly, appeared in a Nakuru court.

The MCA, Joseph Miangare, was among 29 suspects arrested on Thursday when the police conducted the operation in the farm.

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