Embobut Forest Families

What is affected
Housing private
Type of violation Forced eviction
Date 01 May 2009
Region AFA [ Africa anglophone ]
Country Kenya
Location Embobut Forest, Marakwet District

Affected persons

Total 15000
Men 0
Women 0
Children 0
Proposed solution
Forced eviction
Housing losses
- Number of homes
- Total value €

Duty holder(s) /responsible party(ies)

Brief narrative

Article from Daily Nation (Kenya) www.nation.co.ke, found at http://www.nation.co.ke/News/regional/-/1070/603008/-/7j7y1h/-/ ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- LEARNING HALTED AFTER 2,000 FAMILIES EVICTED FROM FOREST By Barnabas Bii 25 May 2009 A humanitarian crisis is slowly unfolding in Marakwet District, where more than 6,000 pupils have stopped learning after their families were evicted from Embobut Forest. The pupils have not gone to school since the second term began three weeks ago when the government moved in to evict settlers from the key water catchment area. There has been no learning in 32 primary schools where 2,000 families were kicked out despite protests from local leaders. Some of the affected schools are Maroon, Katilit, Tangul, Boroko, Mungwa, Kapchebau and Mkeno primary schools. “The displacement has affected learning after families were rendered homeless,” said Mr Richard Kipkorir, headteacher at Embobut Primary. According to district education officer Christopher Chebiegon, more children would be affected by the eviction, which has worsened an already bad hunger situation amid fears of disease outbreaks. The eviction is being undertaken by a joint force of regular and administration police alongside Kenya Wildlife Service and Kenya Forest Service rangers. “We support government efforts to conserve water catchment areas but the exercise should not involve destruction such as burning of houses and food stores and uprooting of crops from the field,” says Ms Paris Maiyo, one of the victims. Rendered homeless “Hundreds of families have been rendered homeless and education of children especially those in primary and nursery interrupted,’’ says Mr Mosbei Ewolei, who is among the displaced camping at Maroon trading centre with their livestock. The eviction has generated tension between local leaders and government officials. Marakwet East MP Linah Kilimo has accused the government of breaching an agreement not to evict families from sections of the forest, but the provincial administration and forest department have vowed not to bow to what they term as political interference. Marakwet district officer Joseph Kisangau maintains that the decision to evict the more than 15,000 squatters was agreed on by all leaders and accuses politicians of inciting them to defy the orders. “We will not relent in our quest to prevent further destruction of the extensively damaged water tower. Let them politic but evictions and constant patrols will take place until no squatter is left in the forest,” states Mr Kisangau. The sentiments are supported by district forestry officer Morris Abuto who asserts that the evictions had been endorsed by the community leaders and squatters were given notice to leave. Those who were still in the forest at the expiry of the notice were supervised as they collected their belongings. But Mrs Kilimo accuses the government of displacing families that had settled in open fields within the forest without offering them alternative land. “Some of the families that legally occupied the land have been evicted despite the fact that they have stayed in the area since 1933,” said Mrs Kilimo. She said the government had breached a 2005 agreement stating that the families, mainly comprising the Sengwer community, would not be evicted until they were allocated alternative land. “We expected the exercise to target individuals who have encroached on the public forest, as agreed with the government. But those implementing the exercise have displaced innocent people, subjecting them to hardships,” said Mrs Kilimo. It is the 21st time the squatters have been evicted from the forest and they now want the government to find a lasting solution to the problem. The destruction of the forest has been blamed for declining water

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