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300 left homeless in West Pokot after houses are torched in land row

Monday October 29 2018

West Pokot land row

Kapsait village residents view the ruins of their homes after being evicted following a land dispute. PHOTO | OSCAR KAKAI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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At least 300 people from West Pokot County have been forced to sleep in the cold after being evicted from their homes following a land dispute.

The members of 11 families from Kapsait village, Pokot south sub-county, have been homeless for the last one week after their houses were torched last Monday.

During the eviction, their crops were also destroyed by security officers.

The land row between two clans led by Mr Tong’elech Lokwanamoi (seller) and Mr Chemer Lochaling’a (buyer) has lasted more than 40 years.


This is the second eviction from the over 11.94 hectares piece of land, the first one being in 2015.

The affected families, which are now camping at Kapsakar and Murkokoi villages in Lelan location, are in urgent need of food aid, shelter and drugs.

“The police came and burned down our houses without notice, we now sleep under trees,” said Ms Selina Tong’elech, one of the victims.


“The case is still in court and we wonder why we have been evicted from our land,” said Ms Tong’elech.

Residents alleged that the police assaulted some of them during the eviction process.   

“Why should police chase people and burn houses? We have lost 28 cows and 60 sheep. Our children are sleeping in the cold and even our neighbours have disowned us,” said Ms Chenanga’t Cheporiot.  

The residents wondered why the eviction process was carried out without involving local leaders like chiefs. The affected families have appealed to the government to resolve the issue.


“We want the government to intervene,” said Mr Loripo Limara.

Ms Esther Arumonyang accused the police of using excessive force during the eviction process.

However, Pokot South Deputy County Commissioner Frederick Kimanga said the police were acting on a court order.

“The High Court made a ruling in favour of Mr Chamer,” Mr Kimanga said.

The administrator said that the police had served the affected families with a vacate notice two weeks ago.

However, Kimanga said the police should not use excessive force when evicting the families.