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GSU harassment in Tana

19 October 2012, 11:28 Alloys Musyoka

Over eight hundred squatters occupying 3,000 acres of land at Kona Mbaya village in Lamu West district are up in arms in what they term as harassment by officers conducting disarmament exercise in Tana Delta district.

The locals claim that officers from the General Service Unit (GSU) in Tana Delta beat them at night as they search for fire arms.

Led by their spokesman Zacharia Gitonga, the angry locals said about 15 people were injured during the four days exercise conducted by the officers brutally assaulting them.

"The officers come at night and start searching our houses, but when they don't get fire arms or any illegal weapons they start beating us saying we are even occupying somebody else's land which we should leave immediately.

Gitonga stated that there is probability of some people using the officers to mistreat and evict them from the land that they have been occupying for the last 30 years.

Gitonga went on to add that the government should intervene and help them solve the land tussle amicably without being harassed and their constitutional rights being infringed upon by unknown persons through the officers.

"The person who has always claimed he or she owns the land we occupy has never come out to meet with us here and this land we know very well it is government land which we were told to occupy and clean the bush by former provincial administration," he claimed.

The angry residents threatened to demonstrate from Kona mbaya primary school to Witu town and take their grievances to Witu district officer if the officers continue harassing them.

Lamu county commissioner Stephen Ikua dismissed the claims that locals were being harassed by the officers terming them as propaganda.

He however confirmed that the officers had crossed the borders for search of firearms and gangs who are said to be using the area as their hideout.

"These people are the one who told us that they see people with weapons passing by their area and we asked officers to comb the region too but the issue of being harassed its not true," said the commissioner.

He said however concerning the land tussle, locals should not be worried and instead seek assistance from provincial administration offices before demonstrating for security purposes.

"We know the problem of the land that they occupy but demonstration will not help them what they are supposed to do is addressing the issue to our offices," he noted.

But the commanding offer in charge of operation in Tana Delta to dis arm locals in the area Robert Kipkimboi Katur said he had not received any complains from locals in the neighboring region over harassment by his officers.

"I have not received any complaint from tech people claiming they  have been harassed by my officers," asserted Mr.Katur who sis also the Coast deputy police boss.

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