13 August 2005

Kenya: Families to Be Evicted From Forest

Nairobi — More than 5,000 people will be left homeless when the Government evicts them from a forest.

The squatters would be evicted from Embobut Forest in Marakwet District to save it from further destruction, the district forestry officer, Mr Dennis Kerengo, said yesterday.

District commissioner Kenneth Lusaka accused the squatters of being behind the destruction of the forest and urged them to leave to avoid being evicted.

Said he: "The squatters have illegally invaded the forest and they have to leave to avoid forceful eviction."

The forestry department and the provincial administration would carry out the eviction, said Mr Kerengo, who said the forest was the main water catchment area in the district.

Ensuring nobody returns

"The Government has in the past carried out numerous evictions of squatters from the forest but they keep on encroaching on the public forest land but we are determined to ensure this time round they will not return," said Mr Kerengo.

He said the squatters were initially allowed to graze their animals in the forest but instead, they settled and cleared it.

He also cautioned the people against illegal logging, warning that stern disciplinary measures would be taken against those flouting the ban on logging in public forests.

Permits were being issued by the District Environmental Committee to those harvesting logs on farms and learning institutions plots.

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