Mining investors in Taita Taveta accused of land grabbing

Mining investors in Taita Taveta accused of land grabbing

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Mr.Mwasai (In front), one of the victims of land injustices testifying before the KNCHR inquiry in Kishushe, Wundanyi Sub county. PHOTO: NIXON KISAKA.

Taita Taveta, KENYA: Several residents owning lands rich in minerals in Taita Taveta county have claimed that  their land is being grabbed by mining dealers in the area.

Some of the affected residents are said to have experienced frustrations as they were forced by external forces to move out of their heritage lands; rich of minerals.

Narrating their ordeal on land injustices during a two-weeks inquiry conducted by the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) in mining zones in Taita Taveta county, one of the victims testified of losing his son in a cold blood killing as a result of resisting orders to move out of his land rich of minerals.

Luka Kitumbi, a 50-year-old man from Mwachabo-Kamtonga Village in Mwatate sub-county, says his frustrations begun in the year 2009 after he discovered traces of Tsavorites minerals in one of his farms.

Kitumbi said during that time, his family then decided to start a mining activity but when he reported to the ministry of mining offices in Wundanyi for them to peg his farm as a mine activity zone, he was shocked after being informed that an investor had already applied for a license for that piece of land.

According to the victim, some individuals then started threatening his family, with an aim of grabbing their land.

“We started getting threats from one of the mining dealers, and in less than a month we were attacked by armed robbers who shot and killed my 17-year-old son and seriously injured my wife,” said Kitumbi.

He added that the attack affected family developments as her wife could no longer bear children after being shot at the ribs area.

“The thugs were targeting to kill me but fortunately I was not at home on that particular day. My wife was shot in the ribs which affected her health. She can no longer bear children,” Kitumbi stated.

During the attack, Kitumbi noted that minerals worth sh. 2 million shillings were stolen from his farm by the robbers.

Kitumbi expressed his disappointment with concerned individuals in the Ministry of lands, since according to him, he is yet to get justice even after he proved to the concerned officers that the land legally belongs to him.

READ ALSO: Women working in Taita Taveta mines narrate sexual abuse ordeal

He told the commission that he denied orders to move out of the land since he inherited it from his father.

“I declined to move out because my father had been farming in this piece of land since 1970,” he said.

Other victims of land injustices including Mary Nduku and her daughters who also testified before KNCHR, of how her land was grabbed by a mining investor at Kamtonga in Mwatate sub-county.