Tuesday, October 19, 2021
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Illegal forest settlers voluntarily vacate Kirisia forest in Samburu

More than 4,000 people who had illegally settled in Kirisia forest in Samburu County have volunteered to vacate the forest.

The  illegal settlers have also called on the government through the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) to support them acquire tree seedlings to enable them plant to regain the destroyed forest cover.

The  Kirisia Community Forest Association (CFA) Chairperson, Douglas Leboiyare  said   on  Wednesday that those  vacating the forest will be resettled along the boundaries of the forest by the KFS.

Leboiyare  noted that the CFA held several meetings with community elders together with the KFS to sensitize them on the need of conserving the forest which led to the voluntary vacation.

“Nobody  is  forcing us out of the forest, we are leaving voluntarily because the CFA and KFS has made us understand the need of conserving this forest,” said Tyson Loldepe, a resident.

Leboiyare  noted that while some are moving back to their ancestral villages, the Ntorobos  who historically rely on the forest for survival will be settled along the forest boundaries in Tamiyoi area in Samburu Central Sub-county.

The  forest encroachers unanimously agreed to move out of the forest by December 21.

The  Samburu County KFS Enforcement Commander, Geoffery  Okeyo  commended the community for voluntarily vacating, adding that those found  within the forest after the set vacation deadline will be arrested.

“Those who will fail to move out will be arrested and charged,” he warned.

Okeyo said that Kirisia Forest occupies 92,000 hectares in the heartland of Samburu County and is home to different wildlife and provide livelihood such as honey harvesting to locals as well as sacred grounds for cultural practices.

By  Robert  Githu

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