The National, Wednesday 28th December 2011
AN American Baptist missionary was attacked by a group of prisoners after row over land ensued between the Correctional Service (CS)and the Baptist mission.
The land is at the Pangia station in Southern Highlands.
Missionary Chad Wells said a group of 20 prisoners armed with knives had been cutting grass in the mission compound while two unarmed warders watched over them.
Wells had asked the warders why they were cutting grass in the mission’s compound.
They replied that the land had been surveyed for a rural prison improvement project initiated by local MP and Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.
Wells told the warders that the mission held the title over the land. He tried to stop the prisoners from cutting trees but they attacked him with their knives, injuring his right back and wrist.
He said the warders did nothing to stop the prisoners and instead threatened to kill him and remove him.
They claimed that the CIS held the title to the land since the 1970s.
He said when the warders were asked to produce the papers on the land ownership, they ignored him.
Another missionary and a doctor who were at the scene said Wells was unarmed – and he was punched thrice on his chest when he intervened.
Nixon Kanema, the officer in charge of land matters in Ialibu-Pangia district, said the CS should have consulted the district administration.
He said the Baptist mission had the relevant land documents.
and urged CIS authorities to develop the existing prison area and look for other alternative land.