Leaders demand clear boundaries ahead of looming phase 2 evictions in Eastern Mau

Dennis Bett being attended to by a medic at Nakuru Level Five Hospital after sustaining an arrow injury at home in Nessuit, Njoro constituency following clashes between three communities living in the area. [Kipsang Joseph/Standard]
At least three more people have been injured in fresh ethnic flare-up in Nessuit Ward in Njoro sub-county.

The attack yesterday afternoon brings to five the number of people so far admitted to the Nakuru Level 5 Hospital with injuries following skirmishes said to have been caused after issuance of eviction notices to families that have encroached the Eastern Mau forest. The notices were issued three weeks ago.

Nakuru police boss Hassan Barua confirmed the attack and said more security personnel had been deployed to the area to calm the situation.

The latest incident came barely a day after one person was attacked on his way to work in the same area. A Class Eight candidate is also nursing injuries at Nakuru Level Five hospital after he was attacked in Mauche while grazing cows.

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Dennis Bett, a candidate at Tachasis Primary School in Mauche, is among the first casualties of tension that has been building up in this area.

Residents of at least three wards in Eastern Mau live in fear of being displaced following issuance of eviction notice amid calls for clarity on buffer zones.

The Phase Two of eviction notice issued three weeks ago by Nakuru County Ecosystem Conservator George Njenga notes that the eviction plan will be effected based on the 1996 cutline.

The forest areas targeted in the eviction include Kiptunga, Kapsita, Bararget, Vikingi Tatu, Kenya Mpya in Molo and Neissuit, Tachasis and Likia in Njoro.

Nessuit MCA Samuel Tanui faulted the eviction notice, noting that sticking to the 1996 maps designed before excision would wipe out entire Marioshioni, parts of Nessuit and Mauche wards.

"It does not add up for the KFS to give eviction notices for those living beyond the 1996 maps. All we know and which has stuck with us is the 2001 excision area map," said Mr Tanui.

Ecosystem conservator Njenga said 300 families living beyond the cutline in Eastern Mau forest will be evicted.

Marioshioni MCA Douglas Ayabei said the Government should come out clear on the boundaries and maps to be followed during the phase two evictions. “The current rising tension is as a result of misunderstandings. The Government should stick to the current buffer zone separating settlement schemes and forest. There are clear recent beacons which we, as leaders, will support,” Mr Ayabei said.

Mauche MCA Philip Rotich said a spate of attacks had been experienced locally on Monday, clashes suspected to have spilled over from the neighboring Narok County after evictions. Ogiek Council of Elders Chairman Joseph Towett urged officials from the Kenya Forest Service, National Land Commission and surveyors to visit affected areas and mark clear boundaries.

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Ethnic clashesskirmishesmau forest evictions