The Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) has expressed concern over the construction of high-rise residential houses near the Laikipia Airbase on the outskirts of Nanyuki town.
Lieutenant Colonel Juvenalis Atanja said that the storeyed apartments put up on land next to the airbase were making air patrolling in the area difficult and risky warning that if the developments were not controlled, they would pose a flight safety risk.
Lt. Col. Atanja told a county multi-agency consultative meeting on land, infrastructure, environment, and natural resources held in Nanyuki town where he represented the airbase commander that uncontrolled development on the 100-acre land adjacent to the military facility had seen landlords put up many six-story apartments yet the local bylaws restrict high-rise buildings to only three floors.
“Most of the buildings being put up near the airbase are a flight safety risk since some of them are built along flight paths used by the military jets in contravention of urban planning regulations,” Atanja said.
He urged the Laikipia county government to immediately stop the ongoing development near the airbase until elaborate measures are put in place to enforce building laws near the military facility.
“These buildings are a threat not only to the military but also to those living inside if a mishap were to happen,” he warned.
On his part, Kenya Air Force flight safety officer Major Ishmael Olwal told the meeting that the high-rise buildings near the military base had affected the approach and takeoff of military jets during training sessions.
He also urged the county government to deal firmly with people encroaching on the airbase land noting that they were a security threat to the facility.
“We have been witnessing situations where people neighbouring the airbase are extending private land boundaries to encroach military land thus posing a security threat to the facility,” Maj. Olwal said.
Laikipia governor Joshua Irungu who was present at the daylong meeting said that his administration would not hesitate to pull down buildings found to have been built against the laid down laws.
Irungu added that officers from the urban planning department would immediately commence inspection of the houses near the airbase with an aim of establishing buildings that have gone more than three stories.
“We will not tolerate a few unscrupulous landlords putting the lives of tenants in jeopardy as well as our military. We will ensure all those buildings that have not met the required specifications are brought down,” Governor Irungu said.
By Martin Munyi