More than 350 tenants and home owners watched helplessly yesterday as bulldozers pulled down their structures in Dandora.
The Kenya Railways flattened more than 10 residential houses, including five flats, two churches and a children's home for standing on the railway reserve.
Some landlords wailed as their houses were reduced to rubble. But their pleas to the railway officers to allow them salvage their belongings fell on deaf ears.
The demolitions that started at about 6am, were conducted under tight security with a contingent of armed AP and regular police officers on standby.
Several kiosks along Molwem Road were also pulled down.
Petronila Bulinda wailed uncontrollably as her two-storey residential building was being demolished.She said she bought the land from a Mr. Kimani whom she said was the area district officer in 2014. She also claimed to have been paying rates to City Hall.
“I neither stole nor grabbed this land. I bought it for Sh300,000 when it was a swamp and spent Sh5 million to build my house,” Bulinda said.
She said Kenya railways has never claimed ownership of the land until 10 days ago when they were issued with notices to vacate.
But the agency said the homeowners were given notices to move out in 2016 but ignored.
The land is near the railway station in Dandora. The parcel has 210 plots measuring 50 by 100 feet.
Landlord Cynthia Onchoke said she bought her plot in 2008 and claimed she had the documentations including a title deed.
Nicholas Omondi, who runs the Harambee Children Therapy Centre, said he did due diligence before buying the plot from the former administrator in 2015.
“The county government gave us a map that showed the plot we bought was 100 metres away from the railways land," Omondi said.
Demolition of illegal structures have been ongoing since Monday last week.
At least four high-end buildings have been brought down by the multi-agency team of Nairobi River regeneration for standing on riparian reserves.
They include Ukay Centre and part of Oshwal Centre in Westlands, The twin Southend Mall building on Langata Road and the Shell Petrol station and Java outlet in Kileleshwa.
The demolitions are aimed at reclaiming the river and its branches that have been threatened by illegal dumping and encroachment.