BY PHILIP KIPSONGOK IN NANDI COUNTY.
Mourners at a funeral in Kipkures Village in Tinderet, Nandi County were treated to a shocking spectacle on Saturday, when police disrupted the then-ongoing service and carried away a coffin, which had the remains of a deceased woman.
The police alleged that 62-year-old Sally Jerono Maiyo was ‘unlawfully’ scheduled to be buried on public land, and that they had received orders from ‘relevant’ authorities to ensure it did not happen.
The law enforcers further claimed they had been directed to evict illegal occupants of the land, which, they said, belonged to the Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC).
The police alleged that they had been issued with a court order, which mandated their action. They, however, did not produce it, when the deceased’s family demanded.
It is then that the law enforcers resorted to using teargas to disperse mourners, who had gathered at the funeral. The officers also fired bullets into the air to further scare away the mourners.
They, thereafter, carried Jerono’s body without disclosing where they were taking it.
The deceased’s relatives alleged that the police officers had, recently, set on fire sugarcane plantations and houses belonging to ‘poor’ families, who were living on the farm said to belong to the Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC).
Jerono’s family say, as at time of going to press on Monday, February 5, they were yet to receive her body from the police.
The deceased’s kinsmen say what took place on Saturday was a taboo, according to the Nandi culture; and that Jerono’s grave will remain open until her body is returned to them.
They are now urging Nandi County leadership to intervene and settle the land dispute between occupants and ADC.
Residents of Kipkures claim Tinderet MP Julius Melly and Nandi County Governor Stephen Sang had, in the run-up to August 8, 2017 general election, promised to deal with land problems in Soba and Songhor areas.
“They are yet to fulfill that pledge,” said one resident.
The Kipkures residents further allege that a rogue businessman – and not ADC –, is behind their planned eviction.
“The businessman, whom we understand has grabbed the land we’re currently occupying, hired the rogue police officers, who used force on us and took away our daughter’s body last Saturday,” said one mourner, who spoke in confidence.
Nandi police boss says they are investigating the incident.