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State moves to evict the Ogiek from Mt Elgon forest

State agents have evicted members of the Ogiek community from Mt Elgon Forest and torched their houses.

A joint team of security agents descended on three villages and torched several houses in Chepkitale area leaving hundreds of members of the Ogiek community, majority being women and children homeless.

Bungoma County Commissioner Joshua Chepchieng said he was not aware of the operation that was carried out by a team drawn from Kenya Forest Service, Kenya Wildlife Service and the Kenya police.

"I was briefed this morning about the operation to evict the forest dwellers by the area MCA Peter Cherui," Mr Chepchieng told The Standard yesterday.

Mt Elgon MP John Serut addresses the press on 6/6/2016 after the ruling at the Bungoma High Court by Justice Abida Aroni. Mr Serut faulted the manner in which the eviction was conducted, saying the exercise should be stopped until an agreeable solution to the problem is found. (PHOTO: TITUS OTEBA/ STANDARD)

"I am aware that an eviction notice had been issued before I was deployed to the county. Today (yesterday) was the deadline. We shall look into the matter, " added Chepchieng who was transferred to the county last month.

Chepkitale Community Forest Association Chairman James Taboi said the security agents torched structures in Chebong'ony, Changw'an and Kapsang villages. Kapsang is in Trans Nzoia County. A deaf elderly man was reportedly beaten up by officers.

Commenting on the matter, area MP John Serut faulted the manner in which the eviction was conducted, saying the exercise should be stopped until an agreeable solution to the problem is found.

"It is wrong to throw people out in the cold without giving them notice and alerting the local political leadership and even the national government top officials," he said.

Mr Serut said the county commissioner should convene a meeting.

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