Friday, March 24, 2006

LAND ISSUES IN KENYA!

Kenya removes forest squatters.

Land is a sensitive issue in Kenya. Kenyan police have evicted more than 3,000 people who have been squatting on forest land in Rift Valley province. Police and forest officials reportedly destroyed more than 100 squatters' homes in the Kipkurere forest area. The operation followed a series of meetings between local officials, some of whom accused the squatters of causing environmental damage.

The squatters say they had long appealed to the Kenyan authorities to resettle them elsewhere. The squatters watched in disbelief as forest guards and police officers set their houses on fire following the expiry of a 21-day eviction notice, Kenya's Daily Nation newspaper reports. The forest area is the subject of long-running dispute between the Ogiek people, who claim the forest as their ancestral land, and other communities who have settled in the area more recently. "Some outsiders have taken advantage of our presence to encroach on [the forest] despite being allocated alternative land by the government," Shadrack Mtung, a member of the Ogiek community who welcomed the eviction, told the paper.

In the 1990s, the Rift Valley was the scene of violent ethnic and political clashes over land.
BBC NEWS REPORT.

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