Families move out of Mau ahead of looming Phase 2 evictions.

Njoro and Molo residents during a meeting held in Marioshoni area on August 29, 2018. The government has issued a notice of evicting those who have encroached the Eastern Mau block which extends in parts of Molo and Njoro. [Kennedy Gachuhi, Standard]
Families have started moving out of the Eastern Mau Forest block ahead of the next phase of evictions.

Last week, the Government issued a notice to more than 300 families accused of encroaching on the forest to move out.

The families are living beyond the cutline, a more than 20 kilometre buffer separating the forest from human settlements.

In total, more than 40,000 people are set to be evicted in the second phase of the evictions.

Kenya Forest Service County Ecosystem Conservator George Njenga said those affected had encroached past the 1996 cutline.

“The eviction will affect those living beyond the cutline. They should not wait for the Government to evict them. We hope they can move out peacefully,” said Mr Njenga.

Residents who have started moving out are those who had encroached the forest at Kiptunga, Kapsita, Bararget, Nessuit, Tachassis, Likia, Saino Teret and Vikingi Mpya.

"These areas have been marked for the second phase of the evictions. The officials are only waiting for directions," Njenga said.

Gazetted area

The Ogiek People Development programme coordinator, Daniel Kobey, said the community would not be touched because it was not living in the gazetted area.

“There are those who had encroached past the cutline and went ahead to clear parts of the forest. Those ones have no protection and must move out. But in case the eviction touches those residing outside the cutline, then it will have gone against the ruling of the African Court of Human and Peoples' Rights,” he said.

The African Court, in its judgement dated May 26, 2017, found the 35,000-member forest-dwelling community was illegally evicted from their ancestral land in the water catchment tower and that their rights were violated.

The chairman of the Ogiek Council of Elders, Joseph Towett said, the evictions would pave the way for the Government to fully implement the African Court's ruling. 

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