An elderly woman was murdered in Witu division, Lamu county on Sunday, over what is believed to be a long-standing land conflict in the region.
67 year old Wairimu Kiriti was attacked and murdered by three men in her house in Soroko village, for what witnesses alleged was her stand concerning an ongoing land conflict involving squatters in the area.
Police on Monday said they had arrested three men who they would arraign in court to face murder charges over the killing.
Wairimu, a squatter on one of the schemes of land in Witu succumbed to serious wounds inflicted on her head, neck and shoulders using machetes, said witnesses.
Witnesses said the murder was meant to scare off other squatters from the said piece of land.
Tana River county, which neighbours Lamu, suffered serious ethnic clashes in 2012, which left over 100 people dead, conflicts that were linked to water and grazing land.
Wairimu is said to have been fighting to get back her five acre piece of land which had allegedly been snatched from her after her husband died years earlier, forcing her to be a squatter.
“We believe she was killed by those who grabbed her land just to take her out of the picture since she was relentless in her search for justice,” Cecilia Mwangi, the victim’s neighbour, said.
Following the incident, panick-stricken Witu residents called on the Lamu county government and the National Land Commission to help resolve land conflicts within the Sokoro Schemes, which they said have lasted for over three years.
“Many of us had our land forcefully taken away since we don’t have title deeds to defend our lands with. We are afraid there will be more deaths since we are up against are tycoons,” local resident, Fahima Ahmed, told Baraka FM.