Posted on September 9, 2004

Two Men Held After Farmer’s Death In Kenya

Sapa-AP, (SA), Aug. 30

Naivasha — Police have arrested two suspects in the slaying of a British farmer in central Kenya and retrieved a pistol believed to have been used in the attack, a local official said on Monday.

The two men appeared to be part of an eight-member gang that had terrorised residents near Naivasha for several weeks, District Officer Karungo Kamau said. The men were driving a cargo truck they had hijacked hours earlier when police caught them, he said.

The police were tipped by motorists who said the men were attempting to flag down vehicles along the Mai Mahiu-Naivasha road, Kamau said. One of them was carrying a pistol that was the same caliber used to kill John Martin Christian Palmer on August 24.

The British farmer was killed and one of his guards severely injured when eight men raided his farm near Naivasha, 90km north-west of Nairobi.

The attack by eight men dressed as police officers came as tension in Kenya has risen between Masai pastoralists and farmers over who owns valuable land in central and western Kenya. The Masai have laid claim to land that was taken from them over 100 years ago, but the Kenyan government has so far rejected their demands that the land be returned to them as unlawful.

Palmer’s property, known as Chapachura Farm, has been caught up in the dispute. Kamau said the robbers apparently hoped the land issue would cloud what was nothing more than a common crime.

The gang has hijacked several cars and trucks along roads near Naivasha in recent weeks and police were still looking for the rest of the gang, Kamau said.