17 September 2005

Kenya: Group Kicked Out of Mau Forest

Nairobi — More than 100 armed men were yesterday forced out of Mau Forest by police.

Their 60 semi-permanent houses were destroyed during the operation conducted by a combined force of Rapid Deployment Unit, Regular and Administration Police, council and forest rangers.

Narok district commissioner Hassan Farah said the young men, who were armed with poisoned arrows, fled when they were confronted by the police in Olmekenyu and Arorwet.

He said the exercise, expected to take five days, would continue in Nkaroni and its neighbourhood until all illegal settlers were flushed out.

Mr Farah said they saw cut trees, adding that the young men might have been hired by timber merchants.

He said the council would build eight permanent security surveillance posts on the forest perimeter to ensure nobody entered the forest.

At the same time, six rangers were recruited for a three-month paramilitary course in Embakasi, Nairobi, after which they would be posted to Mau Forest.

Hundreds of heavily armed young men last week returned to the forest two months after the Government evicted 10,000 people from the area.

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