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Scout shot dead, two KFS rangers injured in Embobut forest

 Section of Embobut Forest in Elgeyo Marakwet. KFS Rangers were injured by locals from Terich Village. PHOTO: FILE

ELDORET: A forest scout was shot dead in Embobut forest, Elgeyo Marakwet County while two Kenya Forest Service (KFS) rangers sustained serious injuries following an attack by residents. The three were part of a five KFS team and were confronted by residents in Terich area who resisted arrest after being found inside the forest.

According to KFS Regional Enforcement Officer Stephen Chesa, the scout succumbed to injuries while a ranger was shot on the chest with arrows with another scout sustaining injuries during the Friday morning incident.

"The team had gone to the forest as per their routine when they were attacked in retaliation from locals," he said.

He said the group armed with bows and arrows kept guard at the scene surrounding the two officers who were writhing in pain. The team had to request for a chopper from the KFS headquarters in Nairobi that was used to airlift the injured officers for treatment at Eldoret Hospital.

"We were not able to access the area by road and rescue the injured because of bad terrain and that is why we opted for help from Nairobi," he explained.

Local leaders condemned the incident terming it unacceptable saying the action taken by the residents was against the law.

Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen said the forests should be safeguarded at all times but also took issue with the operations conducted by the officers alleging that they have constantly harassed the locals.

"We condemn the unfortunate incident but we also want to take issue with the manner in which the officers mandated to be protecting our forests have been handling locals, we have always insisted on dialogue whenever there is a pressing concern," he said.

He said together with other regional leaders, they will tour the forest in order to address the growing conflict between locals and enforcement team.

There has been concerns over increased encroachment of Embobut forest with KFS maintaining on the need to conserve the habitation that continues to play a critical role as a water source. Embobut forest is part of Cherangany water tower and covers over 21, 000 hectares.

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