Police have arrested Emurua Dikirr MP Johanna Ngeno and two ward representatives from Narok County in Melelo, Maasai Mau forest where they were preparing to address settlers facing eviction.
According to authorities, Ngeno, MCAs Jefferson Langat (Olulunga ward) and Philemon Aruasa were arrested moments after they arrived at Melelo to address the settlers.
Confirming the arrests, Rift Valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya declared the area a no-go- zone for politicians.
“We don’t want politics in Mau forest, let them address their issues in boardrooms or at press conferences in Nairobi,” Natembeya told The Standard on phone.
He claimed the leaders were trying to remove a roadblock erected by security personnel to monitor movement in and out of the disputed land.
The leaders were whisked away to Narok Police Station for interrogation.
Tension is building up in the 17,000 acres of land that is occupied by some 10,000 families who the government has ordered to move out and pave way for the restoration of the Mau water tower.
The arrests come as hundreds of settlers have started clearing the area that has been declared a forest land by Environment Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko.
Hundreds of families were yesterday leaving the Mau Forest Complex ahead of the planned eviction of settlers.
However, some of the settlers defied orders to vacate the water tower, setting stage for a showdown with police officers who have already been deployed to the area to oversee the exercise.
Some local leaders have also opposed the planned evictions and called for dialogue.
Tension has gripped the settlers since Environment Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko directed that they leave the forest.
The CS ordered the land to be cleared of human settlement immediately because it forms a crucial part of the water tower.
The evictions target about 10,000 families occupying approximately 17,000 acres of forest land.
Some families fearing forcible evictions camped at Tendwek centre, a few kilometres from Sierra Leone in Narok South, where some of the evictions are expected to take place.
Hundreds of security personnel who arrived in the area on Sunday evening, have also sealed off 15 schools that were declared illegal.
On Monday some 4,000 learners could not access primary schools that were put up by the Government at a cost of Sh40 million between 2011 and 2016.
The Standard counted about 100 policemen in five police vehicles stationed around Sierra Leone.
The armed regular officers were stationed at Koitabai Primary, Chebirbeleek, Sebetet, Noosagam.
They turned away the learners, informing them that there are no schools in the area.
The children seemingly had heeded calls by some Rift Valley leaders, who on Sunday told residents to ignore the Government’s order asking pupils to stay away from the shut schools.
Officers were still patrolling the area yesterday evening, as residents met to plot their next course of action.
But these were mainly lamenting sessions, attended by elders, some of whom their families had already fled.
The officers took positions in Koben, Ilmotiok and Ololunga, Enokishomi, Enoosokon, Nkaroni and Sisian villages while Kenya Forest Service (KFS) rangers secured routes into the forest.
“Do not in any way engage the security forces. These are men and women who are here to enforce the law, ensure order and keep us safe. There is no place for violence,” Rift Valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya told The Standard on Monday.
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