Squatters of the Mivilani group that has been camping at Kanyonyoo in Kitui Rural are living in fear after a group of herdsmen with cows invaded their area.
According to the residents, the men who don’t know fluent Kiswahili invaded their farms and started feeding their cows on the residents’ farms. The residents are living in fear since the herdsmen are accompanied by armed men perceived to be police although they are not shaved as ordinary police shave their hair.
The locals are at the risk of being evicted from their places after a group of armed men attacked one of the residents while at his home. Nyerere Kitheka was allegedly attacked by people who were accompanied by Denis, a member of B2 Yatta Ranch who has been having wrangles with the Mivilani team wanting them to vacate from the area they occupied.
“I was seated at my home with my brother when I heard him telling me ‘serikali’ and he ran away. When I stood up to see the ‘serikali’ I found that there were two policemen and five men where I identified one as Denis. When I asked them what was wrong they kicked me and one of them beat me with a stick and told me to sleep while facing downwards. I insisted to know what was the problem and they told me I should vacate my compound,” Nyerere explained.
After he identified one of them, Nyerere reported the case to the Kanyonyoo police station but no action was taken and he says that his life is in danger. Kasyoka (Not her real name) revealed that they are spending nights in the cold as they fear being attacked by the armed men and they have destroyed their crops since they are herding over 2500 cows yet they have no land there.
“We are now fearing being attacked by those people because they are telling us that we are leaving that place and most of the women are sleeping in forests and we are appealing to the county and national government to provide a solution to drive away the cattle herders who we suspect are being sponsored by the B2 Yatta team who want to take over our lands,” she stated.
Muvilani youth group on the other hand alleged that they are at the risk of losing their crops since the water they use to irrigate the crops is being used by the large herd of cattle coming to drink from the low volume water.
The youths have planted vegetables and crops like Maize and have created employment for many youths from Kabati, Katutu, Kathiani (Kitui West), and Kwa Vonza in Kitui rural and are at the risk of rendering them jobless.
This comes even after Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu said that the Kanyonyoo area where the B2 Yatta ranch was leased is now a government land and thus they should not interfere with Mivilani, Maliku, and Katoteni squatters who have made the land productive.