24 December 2005

Kenya: Former Minister Threatens to Invade Forest

Nairobi — Former Cabinet minister William ole Ntimama has said that the Maasai would invade the Mau Forest if the Government did not evict squatters who have returned to the forest.

"There is no way the Maasai can accept another destruction of the Mau forest. We are giving the Government up to January 7, to kick out squatters who have returned after they were evicted," he said.

Ntimama said the Government was unwilling and incapable of protecting the forest, necessitating a take over.

But Bomet MP Nick Salat yesterday called for Ntimama's arrest for incitement.

Salat said Ntimama's threats could lead to tribal animosity.

"We don't want to end the year with such declarations. Ntimama should be arrested for making such a statement," he said.

Salat, speaking on telephone to 'The Standard', said people from other tribes also have a right to the forest if they have proper documents.

Meanwhile, plans by the Government to evict families returning to their farms in the Mau forest have been condemned by a section of leaders from Rift Valley.

Led by former MP Ezekiel Barngetuny, the leaders vowed to resist the move and asked the Government to look for alternative land to settle the evictees.

Speaking in Nakuru town yesterday, Barngetuny said the more than 10,000 families were evicted in disregard of a court order.

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