Six gangs are locked in a series of land wars triggered by fake title deeds.
Five people have been killed so far in the battles over double sales of land in Kitengela alone.
More shady deals are causing conflict in Machakos and Kajiado counties.
The six land sharks and their followers have been selling plots of 50 metres by 100 metres for Sh60,000 apiece in the Nairobi dormitory areas of Athi River and Kitengela.
Some of the conmen are linked to the banned Mungiki sect whose members they are using to shut out rivals in the illegal land dealings.
The Kajiado security committee has narrowed down the conmen to six groups after investigations showed each had documents relating to the same pieces of land.
Land sharks Some of the gangs on the payroll of the land sharks are former members of Mungiki and some used to attend the church run by ex-Mungiki leader Maina Njenga in Kitengela Town.
One of those named by security agencies owns the two plots on which Mr Njenga’s church stands.
Yesterday, the landlord, Mr Lawrence Thiong’o, said at least three former members of the sect had lost their lives in the raging dispute with some hiding at a secluded home for their own security.
“I own the building where the church is. I do not get rent from it nor my wife and there is a group that wants to get my property by force,” said Mr Thiong’o. He denied he was part of the land mafia that had hired gangs to protect disputed lands. “I do not sell any land. However, I buy land and develop it for my businesses. I am not selling any land in Athi River,” said Mr Thiong’o.
He said he hosted Mr Njenga’s church on a friendly basis but claimed some people were trying to take over some of his properties.
Another land seller in Athi River whose name has recurred in police investigations. Ms Rose Njambi, a hotelier in the area, buys and sells land but distanced herself from the feuds Kamau (County Commissioner ) said preliminary investigations had not directly linked Mr Njenga’s church members to the land scams.
“We are still following crucial leads into who is involved. But as at now, there is little to show Mr Njenga’s followers are behind a spate of killings in the area,” Mr Kamau said.
Sources among local residents said some of the gangs being used by the land sharks were former sect members who have spilled over to the county from Nairobi.
“Those joining the former sect “I do not belong to Mr Njenga’s church. I go to another church. I buy and sell land but not such big chunks like those under dispute. Some of my lands are in Ongata Rongai and Mlolongo,” said Ms Njambi.
Security forces in Kajiado led by county commissioner Kobia Wa Kamau on Friday summoned Mr Njenga and several of his close aides over the land battles.
During the eight-hour grilling in Kajiado Town, Mr Njenga was said to have denied any conflict in the church.
To prove the church was intact, Mr Njenga led several pastors to the questioning.
When security chiefs emerged from the meeting on Friday evening, Mr members are coming to dismantle the existing power sharing arrangements and that is where the conflict is.
Some people have disappeared while others are already dead. It is a power struggle for land and property money,” said a neighbour to the church.
Mr Njenga told Nairobi News his church was intact and that he was in charge of all its affairs. “I am at the top,” he said. “That is why we went to the County Commissioner with our pastors and some members. We are not dealing with any land in Athi River.” A land seller in Athi River said members of the former sect had invaded land belonging to the East African Portland Cement (EAPC) and put up shanties.
“These young men used to go to Mr Njenga’s church when it was in Nairobi. When he came here, some followed him while others split,” he said.