The government has recruited 20 community support scouts living along the Maasai Mau forest in a bid to help reinforce security in the area.
This follows a multiple of incidents where criminals have interfered with the ongoing fencing by cutting down the erected posts and destroying the barbed wire.
Narok South Deputy County Commissioner Felix Kisalu said a team from Rapid Deployment Unit (RDU), Kenya Water Towers Authority (KWTA) and area chiefs, selected the 20 young men.
He said hundreds of young men volunteered for a recruitment exercise that was conducted at his office grounds and expressed the desire to provide 24-hour surveillance in the ongoing works at the forest.
The DCC said during the selection, the proximity of the applicant house to the fence was a key requirement as those preferred were those living near the fence.
He reiterated that youth’s previous record in conservation work and ability to convey critical community information was also considered during the selection.
“We also looked at youth with the ability to influence community groups like youth and women and those with technical knowledge on conservation and security issues,” he said.
The DCC noted that the deployment of locals to help in manning the forest provides the most sustainable and viable option in combating cases of vandalism along the fence line.
“Despite the interruptions, the 30 kilometer fencing at the forest land is ongoing smoothly and expected to be completed soon,” said Kisalu.
The process of fencing the forest land is being supervised by the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) and Kenya Water Towers Authority (KWTA) and is expected to be complete before the end of the year.
The DCC observed after the fencing is complete, no individual will be able to enter the forestland hence it will regenerate naturally, free from any human interference.
Maasai Mau, is one of the 22 blocks forming the Mau Forest Complex which had been illegally encroached after expanding of five adjacent group ranches during land sub-division.
In the year 2018 and 2019, the government evicted over 50, 000 people from the Maasai Mau forest reclaiming about 47, 000 acres of forest land in the first and second phases of eviction.
By Ann Salaton