Isiolo residents chase away Lapsset surveyors over compensation fears

By: VIVIAN JEBET

Angry residents of Ngaremara in Isiolo on Tuesday chased away three surveyors who were demarcating landing intended for the Lamu Port-Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (Lapsset) corridor project.

The residents descended on them, claiming they were not aware of the multibillion-shilling project.

This was the second time Lapsset employees were attacked and chased away from the area.

The surveyors, who were marking and placing beacons on a 500-metre stretch along the Isiolo-Marsabit highway, were forced to stop the exercise.

The irate residents later stormed Deputy County Commissioner Kipchumba Rutto’s office, protesting against the exercise and claiming that Ngaremara market would be demolished to pave the way for the project.

Lapsset is set to pass through Kiwanja, Ngaremara, and Tractor towards Archers Post in Samburu County.

Last month, residents of Kambi ya Juu and Checheles stopped the exercise, demanding compensation.

AFRAID THEY WON’T BE COMPENSATED

Mr Joseph Esukuku, a community leader, said residents are afraid they will not be compensated.

Mr Rutto said locals are demanding a proper awareness from the government about the matter.

“The problem with Isiolo is that people do not have title deeds. It is communal land.

“We want a win-win situation regarding the matter and we are not going to use force to solve the matter,” said Mr Rutto.

A meeting will be held Wednesday between chiefs, political leaders, locals and the surveyors to sensitise residents about the exercise.

He urged locals not to chase away the officials since they were only implementing a government project.

The infrastructure projects include a pipeline, a major railway and an oil terminal.

One of the surveyors, who declined to be named, said challenges such as triple allocation of land and lack of visible signs in the affected areas were hampering the exercise.

The residents vowed to continue blocking the project if their demands are not met by the Lapsset authority.

SOURCE: DAILY NATION