West Pokot Residents Fight Eviction As Chief Claims A Quarter Of His Sub-location

Governor John Lonyangapuo (right) and West Pokot County Commissioner Apollo Okello. [Photo/Courtesy]

An Assistant Chief in West Pokot County is under investigation over disputed land that led to the killing of one person last Wednesday.

The assistant chief and his two brothers are said to own at least 3,000 acres, nearly a quarter of Katikomor Sub-location, which is 12,355 acres.

As an individual, authorities say, he owns up to 2,569 acres, in the sub-location he serves.

The authorities are investigating among other things how he acquired the land.

The person, who died on Wednesday, was identified as 26-year-old Longiro Lwokwasit. He died after being shot with a poisoned arrow.

The Standard reports that Lwokwasit and his three brothers were attacked by a group of 10 armed men who accused them of illegally occupying the land said to be owned by Kanyarkwat Group Ranch.

Read: Turkana Senator Malachy Ekal, CID Officer Trade Fists Over Alleged Land Dispute

Commenting on the killing, Kanyarkwat location chief Julius Rongono said nearly 100 families live on the disputed property, and the assistant chief is suspected of using threats and intimidation to evict them in a bid to retain the land.

The assistant chief is, however, yet to be arrested as he is suspected to have escaped to neighbouring country Uganda after the Wednesday killing.

“He and his brothers fled after the attack and we are searching for them. We suspect they have crossed over to Uganda,” said Rongono.

Preliminary investigation, authorities say, indicate that the assistant chief acquired the property after registering a land-buying company in which he is the director.

Read Also: Shabaa Maralal Land Heist: Samburu Governor Lenolkulal Accused Of Grabbing Community Land, Allocating It To Relatives, Politician Friends

On his part, West Pokot County Commissioner Apollo Okello said the assistant chief has been suspended pending investigations into the killing and the land ownership.

The probe also sucked an assistant county commissioner, who Okello said, has since been interdicted.

Okello said investigators believe that the assistant chief colluded with his brothers to grab the land and evict families that have been occupying it for over a decade.

The title deed for the property, the commissioner said, was acquired through Kapenguria land office in a process that investigators suspect was fraudulent.

“Police are investigating how the three brothers got the title deed. Those who signed all land documents that led to the release of the title deed will also be investigated,” said Okello.

Read Also: Thousands Left Homeless As Flash Floods Hit Elgeyo Marakwet, West Pokot Counties (Photos)

The County Governor John Lonyangapuo visited the area on Thursday to ease tension and appealed to the land office to revoke the title deed, which he said is registered under the name of Lomangiro Investment Limited, pending investigations.

According to Lonyangapuo, the county stands to lose at least Ksh60 million in schools, markets and other projects standing on the land.

Residents are now crying for justice with the hope of retaining the land they have called home for many years.

“He owns nearly the entire sub-location, now he is chasing us from our ancestral land,” said Wilson Cheraruk.

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Written by Wycliffe Nyamasege


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