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Drama as squatters in a Laikipia farm chase DO

13 November 2013, 14:58 James Kabotia

Laikipia - Drama erupted at the expansive Kimugandura farm in Laikipia East sub-County on Tuesday as irate residents chased away a District Officer who was trying to serve them with a court summon.

Things turned sour for Daiga division District Officer, Elijah Maranga, and a Nyeri High Court process server when they went to deliver a summon to the squatters who have encroached on the 15,000 acre farm.

The squatters are supposed to appear in court on November 19 when the case between them and the owners will be heard.

The irate locals maintained that they will not attend any court proceedings and that they should not be served with such summons since they have lived in the farm for more than 30 years.

The provincial administrator was forced to leave the meeting immediately after the residents accused him of only appearing when giving summons and not to deliver development agenda.

Area Chief, Macharia Rwengo, tried to quell the standoff but his efforts bore no fruits as the mob traded words on the face of Maranga.

One of the residents, Ole Tipipi, insisted that the summon should be given to their lawyer.

The court server had intended to issue the summons to the squatters and despite his explanation that the case would still go on even in their absence, no one was ready to pick the document.

Kimugandura farm has been in dispute for years between the herders and private developers who allegedly bought the land through a land buying company known as Machamuka.

The conflict has seen several battles in court which end in injunctions and eviction orders.

However, the herders have threatened to stay put saying that the land belonged to Laikipia Maasai and was stolen from their fathers after independence.

They said the historical injustice on land issues in Laikipia must be addressed as quickly as possible to prevent bloodshed in the region.

The County has in the recent past been in the limelight over the increased cases of land conflicts between farmers and herders with the recent one being at Ereri farm where herders allegedly torched a Police Post.

Land owners who have been away have started tilling their lands to the surprise of herders who have been grazing there.

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