CONSERVATION

30 arrested as KFS kicks invaders out of Mt Elgon

Western region KFS commandant Harrison Afwata says they kicked out all illegal encroachers and destroyed their houses.

In Summary
  • The multi-agency security team  flushed out over 1,000 people and destroyed over 400 houses.
  • KFS regional commandant pointed out that nobody would be allowed back into the forest in efforts to conserve it.
Mt Elgon residents turn up for tree planting
AFFORESTATION: Mt Elgon residents turn up for tree planting
Image: JOHN NALIANYA

Kenya Forest Service officers have arrested over 30 people including Ugandans who had illegally invaded and destroyed forest cover in Mt Elgon.

Western region KFS commandant Harrison Afwata said they had kicked out all  illegal encroachers and destroyed their houses.

“The multi-agency security team has flushed out over 1,000 people and destroyed over 400 houses illegally constructed in Mt Elgon forest,”  Afwata said.

“The security team on July 19 drove out all those people who had illegally invaded forestland and started cultivating it. They had led to degradation of the forest cover and as enforcement officers, we can’t allow it,” Afwata said.
 

He pointed out that nobody would be allowed back into the forest in efforts to conserve it.

“After flushing them out, we are now ensuring that there is no turning back, no cultivation takes place and all illegally constructed structures are completely brought down,” the commandant said.

He stated that the most adversely affected areas include Chebombai and Chesekwo in Cheptais subcounty.

“So far we have cleared 80 per cent of the encroached forest cover. I thank these people for heeding our call and voluntarily leaving the forest,”  Afwata stated.

He noted that among the illegal encroachers were Ugandan immigrants, two of whom were arrested on Sunday.

Afwata said  the eviction  which kicked off three weeks ago would ensure that the forest is conserved and nobody is allowed in to cause  destruction.

 

“We have since realised that people in Mt Elgon have illegally taken over the forest and have destroyed the ecosystem. The eviction exercise will see all those people are driven out and nobody will be spared,” he said.

Two weeks ago four suspects were arrested at Chebwek. Dan Ngeywo Lumbuku, John Lumbuku Omunyu were charged with cutting down indigenous trees in the  state forest for charcoal making.

Moses Kinjo Maasai was arrested with bamboo reeds while Rose Nambuye Turuka was arrested for illegal cultivation in the forest.

Edited by Henry Makori