850 families leave Mau forest as security officers keep vigil

Monday, September 9th, 2019 00:00 |

More than 850 families out of an estimated 10,000 have already left Maasai Mau forest ahead of the eviction at the expiry of the two months vacate notice, Kenya Forest Service (KFS) says.

More settlers continued to leave the forest yesterday, carrying with them valuables as security personnel who were deployed there a week ago to undertake the evictions watched from a distance.

“About 850 families have left. More should be leaving this week. Hopefully, there will be nobody or few settlers in the forest at the expiry of the 60 days,” said a senior KFS officer, who declined to be named because it is only the Narok County Commissioner John Kimiti, who is supposed to brief the press on the ongoings in the forest.

Our spot check at Olmekenyu, Sierra Leone and Loliondo settlements in the vast forest showed over 200 deserted homes.

Settlers who claim to have genuine claim over parcels of land in the forest have left behind only maize, vegetables and potatoes in farms.

“We are only removing things that matter. We will come to harvest crops later, if we will be allowed back,” said Agnes Chepng’etich, a mother of six who we found with others carting their valuables in donkey backs along the Olmekenyu-Ololulunga road.

She said children, women, the elderly and dairy cows were the first to be moved out early last week, adding that it would be inhumane if they would not be allowed to access their former farms again to harvest their crops. “We sunk money to plant them.

The government should allow us to go back to harvest them with hindsight that there are Kenyans elsewhere in dire need of food,” she said as she drove her two donkeys towards Ololulunga township.

Some settlers were seen carrying posts after demolishing their houses and other structures in their farms.

Most of those who have left are living with their relatives in various places in Narok South, Narok West and Bomet, interviews indicated.

Virtually all Maasai families which were living in Nkoben in the formerly Reiyo group ranch have left with all their belongings, their relatives have said.

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