5 January 2006

Kenya: Squatters Leave Mau Forest

Nairobi — The Government has concluded the eviction of squatters from the Narok North side of Mau Forest.

The eviction team of APs, forest guards and personnel from Rapid Deployment Unit combed Olokurto and Olpusimoru forests but more than 600 squatters left voluntarily.

The settlers, who had been evicted in May last year, returned a month ago. The Standard team witnessed the security personnel pull down makeshift structures the squatters had put up at Kilaba.

And a group of Maasai leaders from the area appealed to the Government to allow herdsmen to graze in the forests due to the current drought. They said drought was taking its toll on their animals and the eviction was untimely as it could have been delayed until the long rains set in.

Narok District Commissioner Hassan Farah said the eviction exercise in Mau, which is a trust land under the local county council, had been successful as there was no reported resistance.

He said six people and members of a co-operative society in formerly Enkaroni and Enenkishoni group ranches of Mau, who identified themselves to the eviction squad, were spared because they had gone to court to challenge the exercise.

He said a surveillance post would be established at Mau and government forests to ensure that evictees do not return.

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