20 families who have lived on a 20 acre piece of land in Utange area of Shanzu ward of Mombasa for over two decades are crying out for justice over the alleged grabbing of their ancestral land by a private developer.

Residents of the two settlement schemes who spoke to journalists say they live in constant fear of evictions by ruthless land cartels and absentee landowners.

The families’ representatives appealed to the relevant authorities and the National land Commission to stop the grabbing of their land by influential people they termed as ‘ghosts’.

‘Ours is a desperate long struggle to ward off land sharks keen to rob us of our only heritage that belonged to our forefathers’ said Grace Maganga.

Maganga has asked the government to intervene and save them from losing their land to a private developer claiming stake of their land and who started erecting a perimeter wall.

She pointed out that the families are living a miserable life and wants justice to prevail as they face constant harassment and victimization by hired goons under the supervision of regular police officers from Bamburi police station.

Addressing the media over their plight Maganga appealed for land ownership documents for the area residents to end their miseries.

She says they now live at loggerheads with land cartels out to evict them and sub-divide the land and want the county and national government to help them issue land ownership documents to help meet their desire to own the only land they called home.

She said they have lived on the controversial piece of land for over two decades and that even if they lacked ownership documents they were now the rightful owners through adverse possession according to the law.

Sharif Waweru, a youth leader said they want their land matters addressed to end their miseries as the land cartels were determined to acquire the plots on which their houses stand.

Waweru says residents live in fear of people coming with eviction notices which oftentimes turn out to be fake orders and that those behind the scheme to evict them work in cahoots with corrupt police and judicial officers.

Anthony Mwalagho, a human rights activist says land disputes and gang attacks on squatters are becoming common and said the authorities need to address the emotive land issue at the coast before things go out of hand.

The activist accused the man who is laying claim to the land of failing to conduct a search to confirm the status of the land before he decided to buy it.

However, Aden Abdulrahman who is staking claim to the land said he bought the land from a landowner who has genuine title deeds to the land and termed the residents as squatters.

Abdulrahman says the transactions he conducted with the previous land owner were above board and that he was not a unscrupulous dealer as purported by the squatters.