Lories Torched as Groups Clash Over Sand Harvesting

Updated: January 29, 2014

The fight over the control of the lucrative sand business in Mai Mahiu Naivasha turned nasty after a group of youths torched three trucks and a shovel machine all worth over Sh50m.

The heavily armed youths said to be over 100 later extensively damaged another two lorries during the early morning attack in Kedong ranch. Eight drivers and conductors of the lorries were injured, three of them seriously as a contingent of administration police officers was sent to the ground.

The clash follows a fall-out between traders and the youths from Mai Mahiu and who are loaders after the latter increased the cost of loading from Sh300 to Sh500 per loader. The move angered the traders who come from Kiambu and Nairobi and they decided to seek sand from Kedong ranch at a lower cost.

The traders have already gone to court seeking an order restraining the youths from interfering with their business. A victim Paul Mbugua who suffered head injuries told how the attackers who were well organized attacked torching the vehicles and beating up the drivers and the conductors.

“They caught us by surprise and it is by the grace of the lord that we are alive as their aim was to kill and burn all the trucks,” he said.

According to the trader’s secretary Paul Ngige, the youths who are suspected to come from Mai Mahiu and Suswa attacked at around 8am minutes after they arrived in the ranch.

He said that they decided to shift from Mai Mahiu to Kedong as sand was cheaper and was legalized a move that angered the youths. “They have burnt three lorries, a shovel, damaged two other lorries but we shall not be cowed by this and we ask the necessary government agencies to intervene,” he said.

Another trader Michael Hiuhu said that they had raised the issue of an impending attack with the security officers. “This is a case of a willing buyer willing seller and therefore the youths cannot force us as to where we can buy the sand,” he said.

Kedong Manager Amos Omondi said that the ranch has entered into an agreement with the traders on buying sand which is in plenty. “We were shocked when we heard reports of an attack but the police are working round the corner to arrest those responsible,” he said.

Naivasha OCPD Charles Kortok said that they had arrested five suspects in connection with the attack. “We have increased our patrols in the affected area and it’s a matter of time before we catch up with those behind the attack,” he said.


Source: Standard Digital News

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