Kwale County Police Commander (CPC) Joseph Nthenge has called on residents in the region to discard the unbecoming habit of lynching suspected witches in the community and allow the law to take its course.
Nthenge cautioned residents against killing suspected witches in their midst, deploring the habit as outdated, primitive, and illegal.
The police chief also said on Tuesday several killings are also blamed on land disputes involving family members.
Five elderly people are reported to have lost their lives in Lunga Lunga, Matuga and Kinango sub-counties in the past three weeks following bitter land disputes.
The CPC said steps will be taken against those found taking the law into their own hands and killing grey-haired people out of mere suspicion of involvement in witchcraft.
He said beatings and killings of elderly people on suspicion of practicing witchcraft was outright contravention of the law and those perpetuating the habit would face the wrath of the law.
Nthenge said last week the decapitated body of a 68-year-old man was recovered from a thicket in Kivindu area of Waa/Ngombeni ward.
He said the deceased had his private parts chopped off and his eyes gouged out in what is suspected to be a ritual killing.
Members of the County Assembly (MCAs) Manza Beja and Joseph Ndeme said elderly residents in parts of Kwale County are increasingly being killed or driven out of their homes on allegations that they practice witchcraft and are behind misfortunes and calamities.
Meanwhile, Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya has warned that there is no land on sale in Mwereni ranch in Lunga Lunga sub-county and asked those who have already sold it to return the money to the buyers.
Governor Mvurya said some people have been selling land for as little as Sh6000 for 100 hectares.
“It is really sad to learn that 100 acres can be sold at Sh6000, this absurd habit has now culminated to tension among communities living in the area” he said at Mtsunga trading center following tensions over land disputes among local communities living in the area.
The community leaders, Lunga Lunga MP Khatib Mwashetani, Mwereni MCA, Manza Beja and national government officials attended the meeting.
“We have resolved that those who are in the business of selling land must desist immediately. Mwereni ranch is not for sale. If you sold the land to anyone, go and pay back to the buyers,’ said Mvurya.
He urged the communities to continue upholding peace, as plans to sub-divide the ranch are set to begin soon.
The governor said he will convene a meeting with the Lunga Lunga sub-county leaders next week to deliberate on this and other pressing issues.
Mvurya further warned that his administration will not tolerate such mischievous practices by a few selfish individuals, and asked the residents to report such incidents to the relevant offices for prompt action.
“Our desire as leaders is to ensure that every resident here acquires a title deed in the end,” he said on Tuesday.
Governor Mvurya made it clear that expired land leases will not be renewed and such land will revert back to the people.
By Hussein Abdullahi