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Kenyan Shooting Case Revives Resentments

May 18, 2006

GILGIL, Kenya (AP) _ Hundreds attended the burial Thursday of a black man shot by one of Kenya’s wealthiest landowners, a killing that has revived resentment against the descendants of white colonists.

One government official promised to deport ``white settlers and investors.″ Another threatened retaliation against Thomas Patrick Gilbert Cholmondeley if he was released from custody in the case, the second time in little more than a year that he fatally shot a black Kenyan on his property.

Cholmondeley, the grandson of one of the country’s first European settlers, told police he shot Robert Wambugu in self-defense after finding him poaching an animal on his ranch. Last year, he was charged with murder in the shooting a Massai game warden investigating reports of illegal wildlife trading. The charge was dropped for lack of evidence.

``If the government releases Cholmondeley, this will be the last death he will have caused. We will take it into our hands and deal with him personally,″ said Koigi wa Wamwere, Kenya’s assistant minister of information.

Kenya’s minister for immigration, Gideon Konchellah, told the mourners: ``We are aware of some white settlers and investors who are oppressing our people, and very soon we are going to act by deporting them.″

Kenyan police said Cholmondeley was detained and under investigation for murder in last week’s shooting but has not been charged.

Cholmondeley, a descendent of Britain’s Lord Delamere, is heir to 100,000-acre farm in Kenya’s Rift Valley. His family has been in Kenya since the early 20th century. His grandfather was one of the key promoters of colonialism in East Africa.

Last year more than 1,000 Maasai carrying spears, clubs, long knives and placards blocked a main road to Cholmondeley’s ranch after Kenya’s attorney general dropped the charge that he had murdered the game warden.

Cholmondeley expressed deep remorse for the shooting, and told police he thought the warden was an armed robber.

The Maasai claim that land occupied by Kenya’s white settlers and their families was stolen from them in 1904, soon after Britain colonized the country.

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