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State won’t evict legal settlers in Mau, says AG

BUSIA
By | April 4th 2009

By Evelyn Kwamboka

The State is not interested in degazetted areas within the controversial Mau Forest, the Attorney General’s office has said.

State Counsel Kepha Onyisso yesterday told the High Court in Nairobi, only those who have encroached on the gazetted areas would be evicted.

"We have no problem with the areas degazetted in 2001, but with those who have encroached on gazetted areas. They should be treated as trespassers," he said.

Mr Onyisso said this in a suit in which 3,000 Mau settlers are seeking orders to quash an eviction notice issued in March, last year.

He asked the High Court to dismiss the case, alleging they have not produced title deeds or allotment letters to prove ownership.

Some 24,109 hectares of forestland were surveyed and demarcated in 2001 and divided into five-settlement schemes, namely Ndoinett, Korau, Tinet, Kiptengich and Saino.

Some residents in two schemes have received title deeds.

Ndoinett is the subject of the suit before High Court Judges Kihara Kariuki and Roselyne Wendoh.

Yesterday, the residents, through lawyer Fred Athuok, said they have not encroached on the forest as alleged by the State.

Mr Athuok said a map produced by the State in court does not indicate areas occupied by his clients.

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