ARSON

Man burns six generators in Malindi, claims they have demons

The irrigation facilities were issued by the government to help small-scale farmers to irrigate their farms

In Summary

• The farmers who do irrigation along the river basin woke up to find their stores where the generators are housed completely burnt.

• They said the arsonist burnt seven houses that had six generators, sprayer machines and fertiliser.

Over 200 farmers in Langobaya, Malindi subcounty, are counting over Sh2 million losses after their irrigation generators were burnt.

The farmers who do irrigation along the river basin woke up to find their stores where the generators are kept completely burnt.

They said the arsonist burnt seven houses that had six generators, sprayer machines and fertiliser. Upon investigation, they found out it was one of their neighbour's employees who burnt them, claiming they had demons and that God had sent him to destroy them.

A seventh generator is still missing and is believed to have been thrown in the river infested with hippos and crocodiles.Journalists toured the farms and saw the losses as maize and other horticultural crops are beginning to wither due to lack of water.

Rehema Kitsao, a farmer from Bwaga Lau Irrigation Scheme, said the equipment was given to them by former Water CS Eugene Wamalwa and ex-CS Dan Kazungu to help them irrigate.

Kitsao said they are in agony as they are no longer able to irrigate, pointing at further losses although their crops are about to mature.

"The government officials came in 2016 and distributed these machines and we started irrigation. For sure, they were of great assistance and we now don't know what to do,"she said.

She said her maize plants are withering just before maturity.Kitsao appealed to the government to give them new generators so that they can continue sustaining themselves.

Anderson Thoya, a maize and the horticultural farmer, said his store that had generators was reduced to ashes.

"My store had three generators, about three sacks of fertiliser, spraying machines, jembes, pangas, and food. They were all destroyed and my crops are drying due to lack of water," he said.

They reported the matter to the police.He also said that the suspect has mental health illness issues but has been coexisting with neighbours peacefully until recently when his wife was snatched away by another man.

Samson Thoya, another farmer, said crops on his three-acre farm are also drying. He lost two machines and fertiliser, and says he is now stranded.

''I had two houses all which were burnt, one was a store and another one used to keep harvested crops before transporting them to the market,'' he said.

The farmers called on the government to help them with new generators as they cannot afford to buy new ones during this pandemic.

The suspect was arrested but cannot afford to pay for the losses.

Edited by EKibii