Garissa Deputy County Commissioner Solomon Chesut has put land cartels in Garissa town on notice following renewed conflicts in which a police officer and a civilian were seriously injured in Bula Burburis, Galbet ward.
The incident happened when the police officers moved to quell clashes between two groups, both claiming ownership of a piece of land.
They had to hurriedly leave the scene after being overpowered by the gun wilding militia.
So serious is the land issue that some land speculators ,mostly armed have been fencing off land that is not theirs .the most affected areas are Bula Medina,Bula Iftin , waberi and Modika.
He was speaking during a one day workshop which brought together security officers, elders, women and the Youth in a bid to discuss the thorny issue and come up with a lasting solution, Chesut said the government will act will act tough on any individual out to disrupt the peace and security of the area.
The program is funded by Royal Danish Embassy through the Act Change Transform and Womankind Kenya is implementing partners.
He said the government was aware of land cartels who were taking advantage of unsuspecting wananchi to sell them land noting that it was the same group that was attacking people.
Chesut said the national government will not seat back and watch as land speculators and cartels create animosity, which will compromise the security of Kenyans.
“We know how emotive the land issue is within Garissa township. Unfortunately people have completely refused to resolve issues amicably. the end result is always blood shed and destruction of property. we will not allow the situation to get out of hand,” he said.
During the meeting, it emerged that the land issue has seen the emergency of militia and land brokers who working together to forcefully evict real owners most of them the poor from their pieces of land.
Speaking at the function mzee Rashid Garane regretted that land dispute had gone on for far too long blaming the government for abating the crime.
“It’s unfortunate that the very same government and police officers are working closely with land cartels instead of being the ones to bringing in solutions and a lasting peace,” he said.
He added: “We have seen tycoons come with money and in a broad day light fence off huge parcels of land which do not belong to them under the watchful eye of security officers after bribing them. this is unacceptable,” he said.
On her part Kaltuma Abdisalan said that the most affected in the land dispute were widows who in most cases cannot defend themselves against monied individuals.
On his part Mohamed Ahmed said administrators should do more to stop illegal land allocations being carried out by cartels instead of taking sides with their clans.
Osman Yahye from womankind Kenya said that their main was to Map of 5 resource-baseed conflict areas and support inter-groups /community peace agreement negotiated and trained community opinions leaders and security personnel on the best way to handle the issues when they arise.
He added: “We want to strengthen the capacities of local community members, security actors, government and other CSOs to prevent and mitigate some of this things before they happen. The elders, chiefs and their assistants understand the disputed areas clearly. the security officers also have a huge role to play,” he said.
During the meeting, some of the recommendations agreed upon included a meeting between political leaders and elders to develop a roadmap to clearly define roles to ensure peace prevails in Garissa.