Forest Service Doubles Mau Conservation Efforts
The squatters are now moving their families, livestock and property out of the contested water catchment area.
The Kenya Forest Service is overseeing the process to ensure that it goes on smoothly.
KFS’s Inspector David Rono says that the exercise is being conducted after consultations with the villagers who have already agreed to the relocation proposal.
Inspector Rono noted that KFS was only out to implement the law as per the Forests Act which states that "no one is allowed to cause destruction in gazzeted forest especially for personal and commercial gains".
Rono further said that the forest had lost over 3,000 acres of land which is five percent of the forest cover around the Olposimoru block.
He maintained that the forest dwellers will not be pushed to exit immediately despite the high number of forest service officers in the area.
According to Bernard Sang, who was born and brought up in the forest and a member of the Ogiek community, the forest dwellers have been to court since October 2014 to counter the evictions but the government was keen to force them out.
Sang says the government should wait until the case is over before implementing the evictions.
Robert Kosgei, who was moving his family out of the forest, said that the exercise had been rough and children got lost in the confusion.
Eight people have so far been arrested for charcoal burning and illegal logging.
By Wangui Ngechu
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