The Addis Ababa city administration on Thursday said it has gathered pertinent evidences that land grabbing and construction of illegal houses are on the rise in the city and will take legal actions against the perpetrators.
In a stakeholders meeting in which members of the Addis Ababa police commission participated, it was disclosed that organized and armed groups were grabbing land illegally.
Deputy mayor of Addis Ababa city administration, Engineer Takele Uma, said his adminstration will re-arrange the necesssary documents and evidences to take actions in two weeks time if the alleged individuals and groups can not collect their properties from areas termed as "illegaly grabed lands."
The deputy mayor is confident that the illegal land grabbings and constructions were not done by residents of the city.
According to the mayor, the key actors in these illegal activities were investors, government officials, brokers and other politically-motivated groups and individuals.
A member of the Addis Ababa police commission was qouted as saying that the perpetrators were armed and have been posing threats to the police of the metroplice.
"First we demolish the illegally-built houses, then we will bring those people who took part in these illegal activities before justice," the mayor added
The administration late last year said that it is working to curb issues related to land grabbing and misappropriation of public houses in a bid to fight corruption and bring equity in public service delivery system.
The mayor hopes that the organized groups will not be beyond the capacity of the Addis Ababa police force, but he said in case serious challenge are encountered, the federal forces will be involved to ensure law and order prevails.
Land grabbing was a serious problem before, but became rampant since last year. The organized land grabbing and construction of illegal houses are reportedly increasing, especially in Bole, Yeka, Kolfe, Nefas Silk and Akaki Kaliti sub-cities of the capital,
Though vast swathes of land in Addis Ababa are occupied by developers and residents, legally and illegally, the city administration has been reluctant to take measures against several individuals alleged to own lands illegally.
Recently, Bole sub-city adminstration have began demolishing more than 1200 illegally built houses while retrieving more than 1600 illegally-held plots of lands.
Speaking to journalists last Tuesday, General Manager of the sub-city Tilahun Fikadu said 2801 illegal constructions and seizure of lands were made in Bole over the last eight months.
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