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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 April, 2005, 12:41 GMT 13:41 UK
Peer's son on Kenya murder charge
Thomas Cholmondeley
Thomas Cholmondeley is escorted to court to face a murder charge
A British aristocrat and prominent rancher has been charged with murdering a Maasai game warden in Kenya.

Kenyan citizen Thomas Cholmondeley, 45, son of the 5th Baron Delamere, pleaded not guilty at Nakuru High Court and was remanded in custody until 6 May.

He is accused of gunning down one of three undercover wardens as they tried to detain some of his employees, whom they had found skinning a dead buffalo.

The 16 workers have been charged with illegally possessing a game trophy.

If convicted of murdering the warden, Simon Ole Sasina, Mr Cholmondeley could face the death sentence.

'Deceit'

The case has sent shockwaves through Kenya's central Rift Valley region, highlighting the security fears of landowners and the resentment of the local Maasai population.

Mr Cholmondeley is heir to a massive 100,000-acre farm in the area, acquired by his great-grandfather, who was one of Kenya's first white settlers.

On Monday, a Maasai tribal leader threatened to organize his tribesmen to invade the Cholmondeley ranch, which is one of the largest in Kenya.

The Maasai say all the land occupied by Kenya's white settlers and their families was deceitfully taken from them in 1904, soon after Britain colonized the country.

Kenya gained independence in 1963 but the Maasai say successive governments have done little to address their grievances.

Last year, they launched a campaign to reclaim back their land using peaceful, legal means.

Meanwhile, white farmers in the region have been increasingly targeted by violent criminals, with two of them - a Briton and a Dutchman - killed in recent armed robberies.




SEE ALSO:
Country profile: Kenya
09 Apr 05 |  Country profiles
Kenyan MPs demand land seizures
14 Apr 05 |  Africa



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