Kenya’s Scorched Earth Removal of Forest’s Indigenous

By Matthew Newsome

A torched Sengwer home in western Kenya’s Embobut forest. The indigenous Sengwer tribe are being forcibly removed from the area as part of the government’s attempt to preserve one of the country’s water towers. Courtesy: Justin Kenrick/Forest Peoples Programme
A torched Sengwer home in western Kenya’s Embobut forest. The indigenous Sengwer tribe are being forcibly removed from the area as part of the government’s attempt to preserve one of the country’s water towers. Courtesy: Justin Kenrick/Forest Peoples Programme

NAIROBI, Jan 24 2014 (IPS) – Kenyan government security forces are forcefully evicting thousands of people, including the indigenous Sengwer tribe, from the Embobut forest in western Kenya by burning homes and possessions in an effort to promote forest conservation, safeguard urban water access and “remove squatters”.

“The Kenya Forest Guard is burning homes and belongings in the Embobut forest area. They are threatening [people] with AK-47 guns. Gunfire has caused chaos as families run to hide in the mountain forest,” Yator Kiptum, a member of the Sengwer community, told IPS.

The Sengwer people, a traditional hunter-gatherer society estimated to have a population of only 15,000, have inhabited the forest area for hundreds of years and regard the Embobut forest area as their ancestral home. Continue reading Kenya’s Scorched Earth Removal of Forest’s Indigenous