Family left homeless as gang destroys houses in Westlands

Sunday December 4 2016

By AGEWA MAGUT
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A family is in shock after their home in Westlands was destroyed in an alleged land dispute.

On Sunday morning at 5am, about 30 unknown men armed with pangas and rungus evicted and robbed the owners before a bulldozer flattened the house, a duplex shared by the families of two brothers.

In an interview with the Nation, Jaameeta Kurji said strange men had been visiting the house since November 24 claiming they are the rightful owners of the land.

According to Ms Kurji, two men in a black Mercedes Benz broke down the locks of the adjoining house, which belonged to her late uncle Sadrudin Kurji.

Since his death, the house was unoccupied and his son had been in the process of making arrangements to lease it out.

"We called the police and instead of going there, they came to our house and started asking my father questions. They went away and didn't do anything. The men were left there and they started bringing in more and more people, taking apart cupboards and destroying things, " Ms Kurji said.

NO ACTION WAS TAKEN

The family had reported the matter to the police several times, but no action was taken. She said that on the day before the demolition, men wielding pangas and clubs surrounded the house and told them that it did it not belong to them.

She said they produced documents from Frank Logistics Ltd, claiming that those were the rightful owners of the land.

Jaameeta Kurji said she suspects things escalated on Saturday when Abdulkadir Khalif from the National Land Council brought summons for the Kurji family and the men who had invaded her uncle’s house to appear before the commission.

The gang returned on Sunday morning and chased away two administration police officers the family had hired and attacked the guards left on the ground.

The Kurjis managed to take a few of their belongings and escaped the house before it too was brought down. A camera, laptop and phones used to record the incident were stolen by the assailants who threatened the family with machetes.

One guard, Joseph Nyagonchonga, was badly cut as he fought off the men.

National Land Commission vice-chairperson Abigail Mbagaya-Mukolwe said she was horrified by the incident and would work to ensure the matter is investigated.