WELL-KNOWN BUSINESSMAN

Was investor Sidik killed over Kilifi land?

The investor in dairy farming met his death while planning to expand his business

In Summary

• Sidik and two other people were killed when they were surveying 90 acres dogged with ownership controversy.

•So far, 15 people have been arrested in connection with the killing of the trio.

Dairy investor Sidik Symrar, his well-known surveyor and driver were beaten to eath and burned in their vehicle as they went to survey lan in Kilifi.
WRECKAGE AND MURDER: Dairy investor Sidik Symrar, his well-known surveyor and driver were beaten to eath and burned in their vehicle as they went to survey lan in Kilifi.
Image: ELIAS YAA:

On the evening of July 7, Kenyans well accustomed to violence were shocked by the news that three people had been killed in Kilifi county.

Renowned businessman Sidik Sumra, his driver Rahil Kasmani and agent James Kazungu were killed by unidentified people when they had gone to survey land.

Sidik was a well-known  businessman who was killed on the day he was almost fulfilling his dream of expanding his dairy farm in Kilifi county.

Sidik, 48, was a successful entrepreneur and dairy farmer with more than 2,000 cows at the Sumra Dairy Farm in Mferejini, Junju ward.

Sidik, who was a brother of former Embakasi South MP Irshad Sumra, raised his cattle on a 200 leased acres the family had been using for 16 years.

The farm was acquired by Sidik’s father, Anwarali Mohamed.

Over 100 residents have been employed in the farm.

 

Sidik
DEAD INVESTOR: Sidik
Image: ELIAS YASS:

Irshad said his brother Sidik had found operating the business on a leased farm was too expensive and wanted to buy his own land.

“Sumra Dairy Farm has been there for many years. We moved to that area about 17 years ago and Sidik is well known to almost everybody in that region. He interacted with the locals daily,” Irshad said.

The farm was started by Sidik’s great grandfather Sidik Sanjar in Mombasa in 1912. He also ran the Sumra Butchery in Mombasa.

Sidik was known for his benevolence and easy interaction with the locals.

On the day of his death,Sidik had gone to survey the land he wanted to purchase. He and his two companions were cornered by unidentified people and beaten to death.

His vehicle was torched and his firearm was stolen, police said.

His phone was recovered.

Though he was aware of the controversy surrounding the 90 acres, Sidik was optimistic he would be able to resolve the problem and be allowed to buy the land, residents said.

“Sidik knew most of the people around there and on that day he was accompanied by Kazungu, a well-known land agent," resident  John Mbaga said.

Mbaga added, “Sidik had nothing to worry about, but how things abruptly changed, no one knows. He was even working on a plan to resettle some squatters.”

So far, 15 people, including  a former Junju ward MCA, have been arrested in connection with the killings. 

They were arraigned are being held for 21 days to allow police to finish  finish their investigation into the matter.

On Monday, there were reports that Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i was scheduled to visit Kilifi and address the killings.

After the killings of Sidik and his colleagues, Police IG Hillary Mutyambai issued a statement blaming unidentified politicians for  possibly inciting residents against investors and non-residents.

 “We are warning leaders suspected to be involved in sponsoring goons and engaging in reckless and inciting activities they will meet the full force of the law,” Mutyambai said.

About 20 investors have joined hands to fight for their lands after allegedly receiving threats from squatters.

Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi has urged residents who are believed to be having genuine concerns, to forward their grievances to the government.

“We do not want a situation where innocent investors are killed in the name of defending the land. Sidik did not deserve to die, and whoever did it must be brought to book,” Kingi said. 

Kingi said Sidik was a resourceful person to the county and many people depended on his investment to feed their families.

“With such incidences, Kilifi will to start scare away investors,” Kingi said.

In 2016, Sidik participated in the Mombasa ASK show for the first time and scooped top awards.

He was feted by President Uhuru Kenyatta when his four cows won in different categories of the Agricultural show.

One of his animals won in the crossbreed category for large and small-scale farmers. It was also declared the overall winner when it participated in the overall Cow of the Show category.

His bull scooped the second position in the Friesian bull category while his cow took the second position in the Friesian cow category. Another of his cows took the third position in the Friesian cow category.

His murder is only the tip of the iceberg of long-standing land disputes in Kilifi county, residents sad.

The area is dogged by land wrangles pitting residents against nonresidents. Residents have blamed the government for siding with investors to allegedly grab their land.

Investors have accused the government of not protecting them against squatters.

(Edited by V. Graham)