Kenya

Many homeless, stranded after demolitions in Kwale

Many homeless, stranded after demolitions in Kwale

An administration police officer looks on as a buldozer demiolishes farmers' houses in Maumba, Kwale County, in 2007.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Hundreds of families were left homeless after the demolition of houses in Kinango Sub-county, Kwale County, in the wee hours of Friday.

Residents of Mwamdudu in Bonje accused a private developer of colluding with unscrupulous individuals to grab their ancestral land.

They held demonstrations, barricading the road in Bonje and causing a traffic snarl-up, and burning tyres on Mombasa-Nairobi highway, which blocked traffic  flow for more than six hours.

The county’s land committee chairman, Mr Hamisi Mwero, said the demolitions on a 600-acre piece of land began at 1am, so families spent the rest of the night out in the cold.

At least 200 structures, including Mwamdudu Baptist and Bonje PEFA churches and two schools, one of them private, were torn down.

"No one was given time to recover their property ," he said.

Read: Hundreds homeless as battle for Embu land rages on

"No notice"

Mr Clinton Munga, one of those affected, said police officers involved in the demolitions told them they had been given a court order.

"None of the residents received a notice to relocate. This is injustice to us," he said.

Others said they were stranded since the exercise was sudden.

"We do not know what we are going to do. We will be spending the day outside and do not know where to go when night falls," one said.

The local law enforcement were not immediately available for comment on the matter.

Rabai Sub-county Police Commander Fred Abuga noted that police officers must be present during demolitions.

“However, the activity is organised and carried out by the owner of the land, not the police officers," Mr Abuga said.

He added that the officers had already dispersed the protesters and cleared the highway by the time journalists contacted him for this comment on the operation.

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