More than 7,000 farmers around Lake Kamnarok Game Reserve want the State to compensate them for land they surrendered in 1983 to create the reserve.
The peasants, who converged at the Kenya School of Government, Baringo campus, for talks with the Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS), said they were never involved in the decision to establish the reserve. Mr Joseph Kiptala, the chairman of Kamnarok Farmers Group, claimed the state created the game reserve without public participation.
“We were told it was going to be a railway station. We were very happy only to learn they had other plans,” he said.
KWS warden Peter Lekeren said the government failed to compensate the residents in 2006 on technical grounds.
“The problem with compensation is that many people take advantage. Those affected were initially 600. Then, the number rose to 5,000,” he said. "We are now vetting the names."
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The lake and reserve were once home to 10,000 crocodiles, 400 elephants and 13 species of other mammals.