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Tension high in Ruai as evicted squatters return after court order

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Ann Wanjiku, one of the Ruai Squatters Settlement Scheme members

Tension is high in a section of Ruai where hundreds of evicted squatters had been allowed to return on the strength of a court order.

About 40 vigilantes armed with crude weapons kept guard at the site and chased away the members of Ruai Squatters Settlement Scheme who had regrouped to repossess the land.

This was after the High Court gave an order barring private developers from accessing the expansive 1600 acre piece of land initially owned by a colonial sisal farmer.

Read: [VIDEO] Ruai squatters in the cold after demolition in over 1,000 acres parcel of land

The developers, said to have the backing of influential state organs, have been barred from evicting the squatters.

They have also been stopped from starting construction on the site and erecting a perimeter wall around the plot.

A judge declared the eviction illegal on Tuesday and ordered the peasants back on the land.

The opposing parties are claiming the property and are awaiting the outcome of a six year old case, with each party blaming City Hall for the impasse.

ORDERED BACK

Families were kicked out of the property “without a court order” but got the reprieve in a counter-injuction on Tuesday after a judge ordered them back.

“Our lives are now in danger… since yesterday (Tuesday). Two of our leaders have not slept in their homes after they were trailed from court by people who appear to want to intimidate them,” Mr Onesmus Mutinda, a member of the scheme told reporters Wednesday.

He said about sixteen squatters were forced to flee from the site after armed Morans hired to guard the property threatened to attack them.

The squatters claim they were allocated the land in a clean deal sanctioned by City Hall in 2001.

They showed the Nation a landmark tree that President Uhuru Kenyatta reportedly planted at the site when he served in the local government ministry at the time the formalities of settling them on the property were underway.

On the other hand, the directors of Rento Company Limited and Customs Homes Holdings who are being accused of attempting to grab the land have also tabled documents dating back to 1996 when they allegedly got the titles to the land.

FRESH STRATEGY

The squatters said they will hold a meeting next Friday to map out a fresh strategy to avert the possibility of chaos breaking out over the repossession.

“It seems they (developers) are not keen to abide by the law. Why are we being denied access while the court clearly gave an order that we go back there until the case is heard and determined?” Mr Mutinda asked.

On November 28, 2013, bulldozers rolled on the site flattening houses that had been built there as riot police stood guard.

The machines, witnesses said, also crushed animals owned by the squatters.

A man also died during the eviction after a falling house crushed him.

The scheme members appealed to the government to address their plight as they wait for the outcome of the case pitting them against the developers.

The case is set to begin in 21 days at the High Court in Nairobi.

-Nation

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