Home NEWS County News KWS, Maasai community in tiff over encroachment into Hell’s Gate National Park

KWS, Maasai community in tiff over encroachment into Hell’s Gate National Park

Tens of families in Olkaria in Naivasha were forced to spend the night in the cold after KWS officials demolished their manyattas for allegedly encroaching into Hell’s Gate National Park.

The incident sparked protest from members of the Maasai community who claimed that they lost tens of livestock and property worth thousands of shillings during the exercise.

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Emotions ran high as the community vowed to kick out tens of wildlife that had strayed from the nearby park into their farms.

However, KWS defended the decision to demolish the structures accusing some members of the community of encroaching into the park and environmental degradation.

But the community Chairman Mwangi Sururu denied allegations that they had invaded part of the park saying that they had lived on the land for over 50 years.

Speaking at the scene, Sururu said that several youths and livestock were injured by KWS officers who demolished their homes without any notice.

He vowed that the community as one way of retaliating would drive back hundreds of wild animals that had strayed into their farms from the park.

“We have co-existed peacefully with KWS for years but this has ended and we are calling on our MP Jane Kihara to intervene before the situation worsens,” he said.

This was echoed by Isaac Leshishi who said that the community had lost property worth over Sh800,000 while tens of livestock could not be accounted for.

“We have lived on this parcel of land for years and we shall not move out despite threats and intimidation from some KWS officers,” he said.

On his part, Kiraison Matayo said that over 50 families had been displaced adding that they would not rest until they were compensated for the losses incurred.

An elder Siloma Nairenyu denied that they had built the manyattas on the boundary adding that the trust and peaceful co-existence with KWS was now a thing of the past.

“For years wild animals have killed our livestock and KWS has remained silent and without provocation that they have decided to demolish our homes,” he said.

Speaking on phone, the Warden in charge of the park Millicent Atieno accused members of the community of encroaching on the park and constructing illegal structures.

“There has been extensive logging and charcoal burning and we must maintain the park’s integrity and to deter any illegal activities as has been going on,” she said.


Antony Gitonga
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