The Star (Nairobi)

20 June 2012

Kenya: DC Warns Grabbers to Keep Off Lamu Forest Land

Lamu East district DC Pius Murugi has warned land grabbers that their days are numbered. Murugi said his officers will not tolerate land grabbers who are out to frustrate efforts to resettle squatters and issuance of tittles to the locals. He was speaking to journalists at Faza during the commissioning of the first banking hall sponsored by Safaricom Foundation.

The DC said most of the grabbers target forest land. "Grabbers wont be allowed to acquire land illegally in this area. Anyone claiming land at a forest area shall be evicted and the land be subdivided to resettle squatters," he said. Murugi said the government is committed to issuing title deeds to all the residents by August.

He said squatters are being resettled and given genuine title deeds. "We had several meetings with locational land committee in the area and resolve that forest land be subdivided and allocated to locals," he said. Land grabbers are said to be eyeing prime areas near the proposed Multi billion LAPSSET project.

Murugu said residents of Chundwa and Siu have been given title deeds. Pate Island is being surveyed and title deeds will be issued soon. The administrator the areas which were invaded by grabbers include Mtangawanda area, Bore, and vowed not to allow the illegal allocations to proceed. Most of those alleged land grabbers were taking advantage of the idle land that had not been utilized since independence to be able to get documents before the port project was complete.

Already some locals had begun speculating that they owned section of land at Mtangawanda area leased to Company doing oil exploration in the area. The DC however dismissed them and termed them as grabbers who wanted to take the land for their personal gains. "Settlement is going on we are in the process of identifying owners , and expect to have issued titles to all people so as to have right ownership documents," he said.

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