Nandi asks state to settle 1,700 forest evictees

Some of the Ogiek evicted from Mau forest on August File

THE Nandi county government has urged the Devolution ministry to fast-track the release of funds for more than 1,700 people evicted from state forests in 2006. Special Programmes executive Consalata Kutto yesterday said the IDPs are living in deplorable conditions in camps. The forest evictees, most of whom are from the minority Ogiek community, were forcefully removed from Serengonik forest by the government to stop wanton depletion of the environment along Tinderet escapement.

“The evictees have been patient for long enough. The population is growing and the camp is an eyesore. If nothing is done, now these people may never see justice,” Kutto said.

Kutto spoke in Kapsabet when she donated personal effects and training kits to the first Ogiek member to be enrolled to the military recruit training school in Eldoret. Viola Jepkurui, 21, whose family are among the evictees currently living in an IDP camp at Keben village, was enlisted to join the force in October recruitments. Kutto said she was forced to come to the aid of the girl after learning of her plight during a visit to the camps last week.

“I know God has seen how we are and my recruitment is a blessing. I will work hard and pray that I complete the training and serve my country,” Jepkurui said. Children at the camps are growing up in an extremely hostile environment and suffer both psychological and physical stress, Kutto said.