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Committee to Arbitrate Maasai Mau Forest Conflict

An eight-member committee has been formed to resolve the fracas the Maasai Mau forest conflict in which four people including security officers were injured in latest flare up at Oloshapani area in Narok South sub county.

Narok South Deputy County Commissioner (DCC) Felix Kisalu told KNA that the standoff started after Kenya Forest Service (KFS) officials attempted to seize livestock that was illegally grazing in the forestland on Friday.

The irate residents reiterated by throwing stones and rungus to the officers and as a result, three officers and one civilian were critically injured.

The KFS officers attacked were rushed to the Ololunga Sub County hospital where they are recuperating while the civilian was taken to Longisa hospital for treatment, confirmed the DCC.

The incident forced the local leaders among them Joint Enforcement Unit (JEU) chairperson David Motoro and Narok South Member of Parliament Korei Lemain to hold a meeting in the area on Sunday to try to resolve the issue.

Also in attendance were the Sogoo Member of County Assembly (MCA) Francis Turgut, Ololunga MCA Jefferson Langat and the Narok Chapter Myoot Kalenjin council of elders.

The DCC stressed that the eight-member committee formed would help the government handle grass and fence grievances that are the main cause of skirmishes in the area.

“The committee comprises of respected elders in the society and government officials. It will help in resolving issues that arise among the residents before they escalate to conflict,” said Kisalu.

The administrator reiterated that entry of livestock in the forestland remained banned and any access to grass would only be under the ‘cut and carry’ policy.

However, no one was arrested as the meeting resolved the issue at hand amicably but asked the eight-member committee to be on the watch out to avoid an occurrence of such incidence in the future.

The Member of Parliament stressed the need for unity promising to support the renovation of Katama- Oloshapani road to enable easy access to the area.

He called on Kenya Water Towers Authority to fast track the promised planting of tea leaves along the forest border to improve the livelihood of the residents.

“I urge the community to support the ongoing fencing programme as it will help conserve the mega water catchment land,” added the MP.

The committee is expected to bring sanity in the volatile land where 14 people were killed and several left nursing injuries in prolonged clashes in the year 2018.

The conflicts are believed to be fueled by a host of people who were evicted from the forest by the government to conserve the forest.

By Ann Salaton

 

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