Eviction of squatters from Tana and Athi River Development Authority (TARDA), Mwingi region of Kitui County and Tharaka Nithi County early this week was justified after a court order was issued last year to effect the exercise.
Mwingi Central Sub County Deputy County Commissioner Mr Omari Dima defended the eviction exercise saying the affected residents defied the court order to vacate the land forcing authorities to use security officers to enforce the directive.
“We held a series of sensitization meetings with the squatters to have them vacate the land amicably since March 2020 when the court order was issued but they refused to do so, and instead became hostile,” said the Deputy County Commissioner.
The squatters had moved to court to stop the TARDA from evicting them but they lost the suit. In the judgment dated March 12, 2020 the court ordered the eviction of the squatters.
The court further ordered TARDA to demarcate and put beacons on their land for ease of identification to prevent future invasion of their land.
However, the exercise was hindered by the squatters who became hostile preventing the exercise to take place.
Early this week the security officers executed the court order forcefully evicting the squatters from the TARDA land.
Over 700 households from Mwingi region of Kitui County are now living in makeshift camps. Red Cross yesterday moved in to assist the squatters with food and other humanitarian needs.
The squatters are appealing to the government to help them get alternative land to settle saying that they are poor and cannot buy land for settlement.
By Denson Mututo