Kenya: Police Plan Swoop on Youths Out to Resist Mau Eviction

23 September 2019

A contingent of police officers from the Rapid Deployment Unit (RDU) have been deployed to Narok South following intelligence reports that a group of youths are arming themselves to resists phase two of Maasai Mau evictions.

The officers numbering 70, aboard three lorries and several Land Cruiser vehicles, arrived in the areas designated for the eviction two days ago.

Narok South Deputy County Commissioner Felix Kisalu confirmed that the officers have arrived and joined their counterparts from the Kenya Forest Service (KFS), in patrolling the areas which have so far been declared security operation areas.

PATROLS

"The officers arrived two days ago and they will be patrolling the area designated for evictions to keep law and order and actually assist those people who are willingly moving out to do so," said Mr Kisalu.

He directed those who have left the forest to record statements with police so that a register of their departure is kept.

He added that the police officers will also stop all agricultural activities and felling of trees in the forest and assist in the quick movement of settlers out of the forest.

VACATE NOTICE

The government issued a 60-day notice for illegal occupants to willingly vacate the forest or face forceful eviction and so far, according to the Rift Valley Regional Coordinator George Natembeya, 70 percent of the settlers have moved out with less than 40 days left.

"We gave them a window period to move out in a humane way and many have heeded the call," said Mr Natembeya.

He warned the group of youths, whom he said are being incited by politicians to move to Sierra Leone to disrupt the eviction.

He said a swoop will be carried out this week to flash them out.

ARMED YOUTHS

"We have intelligence that some youths from other areas as far as Trans Mara are converging in the eviction area, armed with bows and arrows, with claims of others armed with guns, but we will deal with them," said Mr Natembeya.

He said the eviction is unstoppable.

Mr Natembeya warned that anyone stands on the way will face the full force of the law.

Environment Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko had on Saturday ordered those claiming to hold genuine title deeds to present them to the Narok County Commissioner for verification.

NO COMPENSATION

He ruled out any compensation for those who had been evicted from the Mau Forest, saying they had illegally occupied it.

Mr Tobiko said forests are critical water catchment areas that must be protected.

He accused some leaders of politicising the Mau issue for their own selfish gains.

A number of lawyers have already moved to the court to challenge the eviction orders claiming due process has not been followed.

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