Guards shot dead on land row farm

2010-11-13 00:00

LAND TENSIONS in Muden escalated to murder when two security guards working for a local farmer were killed by community members.

The owner of the farm, Peter Channing, was recently accused of attempted murder for allegedly firing at community members from his helicopter, which he denies. He was not at the farm when the murders occurred on Thursday.

Channing and the community have been involved in a prolonged land dispute, and earlier this year the Muden police station arranged a dispute resolution process.

The community accused Channing of impounding their livestock without cause and transporting them to a far impound. They had to pay a fortune to get the livestock released and travel long distances back, with some of the animals dying on the way, community members claimed.

Channing accuses the community of trying to force him off the land. He said the community has removed lengthy pieces of the fence surrounding his farm and driven their cattle on to his land.

The dispute resolution committee ruled that the community should respect Channing as the landowner and Channing should be reasonable when impounding livestock.

Earlier this week, after the allegations of attempted murder against Channing emerged, he conceded that tensions in the area are high and that the dispute resolution has not worked. “I am still impounding cattle every day,” he said. On Thursday, the tensions boiled over when two of Channing’s guards who were looking after the impounded cattle were shot dead.

The guards were looking after 21 cattle that had been impounded on Channing’s farm and waiting to be transported to the pound. When the poundmaster came to the farm, he found two guards dead with gunshot wounds. Their .303 rifles were missing.

Community members blamed the incident on the impounding of cattle. Channing blamed the land restitution process.

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