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Drama as gun-toting landlady evicts students

There was panic at a students’ hostels in Eldoret after a landlady allegedly threatened to shoot her tenants for defaulting on rent payment.

Some of the students form Moi University said the landlady by the name Rebecca Saddam chased 40 students from the Miracle hostel with a gun over rent arrears on Saturday in the 9 pm incident.

According to Stella Cherop, 21, first year Education student said they had already made their rent payments to the tenant by the name Hellen Wanjiru who then pays the landlady.

“We usually pay the tenant who has leased the hostel Sh4, 500 then she goes ahead to pay the landlady her dues. This is the arrangement that has been there since 2012,” said Ms Cherop.

It all started on Thursday at around 9 am just when the students were preparing to go for their morning classes  when the caretaker, only known by the name Bonny, ordered them to vacate the hostel.

“We didn’t understand why he was telling us to vacate the hostel yet we had already paid our rent, but we all stepped outside the gate which he closed,” explained Ms Cherop.

Some of the students proceeded to classes while others waited outside the premise hoping that they would be let in.

That never happened and the students were forced to seek alternative places to spend the night. Ms Cherop decided to go to her cousin’s place while the rest were taken to another hostel by the tenant.

LOCKED

On Friday, the hostel was still locked. It forced the tenant to call someone to cut the locks in order for the students to pick their belongings.

“The security guard saw what was happening and informed the landlady and after few minutes more guards were called to remove us from the hostel,” said another student Euphy Okelo.

The students made a formal report at Central Police Station at around 4 pm where an officer was assigned to accompany them back to the hostel.

“After looking around he instructed the tenant to allow us to stay as he sorts out the matter. But later in the evening the landlady came with more reinforcement to chase us from the premise,” said Ms Okelo.

Again they looked for an alternative place to spend the night till the following morning which was on Saturday.

They all assembled at the police station and met with the Deputy OCS who again called the tenant and instructed her to sort out the matter with the landlady and allow the student to go back to their hostel and collect their belongings.

“We were packing our belongings at around 9pm, when we heard commotion from other rooms. After a few minutes the landlady barged into our room and pointed a pistol to us asking us to get. She came towards where I was standing and hit me with the gun on my left hand injuring one of my fingers as I was trying to cover my head,” Ms Cherop narrated.

GONE MISSING

They both ran outside the building for their lives as fast as they could while the rest of the students screamed out loud in shock.

“I was shocked and did not know what to do since I have never seen a gun in my whole life. We are left hopeless, we have classes and our belongings are locked inside the hostel. I personally have not changed my clothes since Thursday,” added Ms Okelo who was still in shock.

Her roommate Cherop was taken to Cider Hospital at around 11 pm where her injured fingered was attended to.

Eldoret West police boss Tom Achiya confirmed the incident and said that the landlady has since gone missing. He said police looking for the suspected offender.

“Yes there was such an incident and we have requested all the students to come to the station and record their statements as we search for the landlady who has gone missing,” said Mr Achiya.

Police reports shows that the tenant, Mrs Wanjiru, who is a business lady in Eldoret town had rent arrears of Sh114, 000.

She also told the police that some of the students had not remitted their rent and had also written to the landlady last month notifying her of their intentions to vacate but got no response.

There has been concern over misuse of firearms by civilians in recent days that forced the National Gun Owners Association of Kenya (NGAO) to call on the Interior Cabinet Secretary and Inspector General of police to take a stern action against licensed civilian gun holders found guilty of misusing their weapon.