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Guards sent to Mau to prevent further settlement

By | January 27th 2009

By Karanja Njoroge

The Government has moved to secure the controversial Mau Forest from further destruction and influx of illegal settlers.

The Kenya Forest Service (KFS) and the Narok County Council have deployed guards into the forest to block further settlement.

"We want to make sure that people do not take advantage to destroy the forest further or settle inside," said Mr Emilio Mugo, the KFS deputy director.

The move follows fears that people may be moving into the forest hoping to benefit from Government compensation.

Mugo said the Government would protect the forest from intruders until a task force on the forest completes its work and makes recommendations. Prime Minister Raila Odinga last month extended the duration of the task force by three months.

Raila appointed the task force after some Rift Valley leaders opposed attempts by the Government to evict more than 15,000 settlers from the forest. Mugo said the task force would define the boundaries of the forest in order to secure the protected area.

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New regulations

Speaking during a workshop for District Forest Officers at a Nakuru hotel, Mugo said KFS had developed new regulations to streamline the charcoal industry. He said the new rules would be gazetted soon.

"The regulations will address ways of introducing sustainable production of charcoal," he said.

Mugo said once enacted, the new rules will end corruption in the business and stop unnecessary harassment of those involved by police.

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