3,000 people evicted from the Maasai Mau Forest

Narok County Commissioner George Natembeya addressing Journalists at his office on July 9, 2018. [ROBERT KIPLAGAT, STANDARD]

More than 300 families have been evicted from the Maasai Mau Forest as the Government aims to repossess 23,000 hectares from illegal settlers.

County Commissioner George Natembeya, who is leading the operation, said 333 households — about 3,000 people — have been kicked out of Nkoben.

“Since 2013, we have lost over 23,000 hectares in the 46,000-hectare forest. Nkoben is now free from human encroachment,” said Natembeya, who addressed journalists in his office, yesterday.

He said the multi-agency team comprising over 200 security personnel was heading to neighbouring Kosia village where another over 300 families live.

He observed that a majority of those who were inhabiting the forest were outsiders suspected to have been duped into buying forest land for as low as Sh40,000 per acre.

Natembeya said some of those evicted were from Transmara West, Kisii, Bomet, Sotik and Bungoma. They had no land ownership documents.

“What we want to tell Kenyans is this is the last eviction the Government is conducting. They should know clearly that Mau Forest is no longer available for human settlement. We are serious about conserving this crucial water tower,” Natembeya said.

The administrator, who was accompanied by the region’s police commander Thomas Ngeiywa and Kenya Wildlife Services Maasai Mau operations commander Dickson Ritan among others, said they would stop at nothing in saving the Mau.

Meanwhile, he said the Government would not establish Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps for those evicted.

“They should go back to where they came from before encroaching on the forest. We also want this exercise to be free from political interference. We must save the forest for future generations,” he said.