A senior security official has suspended the harvesting of sand from a river in the Mwingi West region of Kitui County until the intensifying wrangles over the business are resolved.
Mwingi Town OCPD Peter Mutuma said those involved sand business from Kiromboko River to stop it.
The decision was communicated through an official letter calling for negotiations over an issue that has lately sparked an uproar among the local residents and leaders.
The letter, which was copied to media houses, also said that until an agreement is reached between local MP Charles Ngusya Nguna and acting county environment minister Patrick Koki Musau, the business must not go on.
The county minister had earlier insisted that all the set procedures had been fully complied with.
But the MP declared that the business was illegal and was only of benefit to a few people, and not to the local residents.
However, former Mwingi West MP Benard Munyoki supported the sand harversting, saying it was not just legal, but also benefited the locals.
Speaking in a radio interview yesterday, 3rd June, environment minister Musau said that the county government had approved the business and was earning revenue from the two sites it had approved.
He said anybody from from the county was free to do the business, but must follow all set guidelines.