Kenya’s Land Dispute

The Sengwer, an indigenous hunter-gatherer community in western Kenya, presented a petition to the government in Nairobi demanding the return and protection of what they call their ancestral lands. The community says it faces threats of eviction as Kenya’s government takes over conservation of the country’s forests and water supplies. Hundreds of members of the Sengwer, a community that lives in the Embobut forest, spent two days marching from their ancestral land in Kenya’s North Rift Valley to Nairobi in hopes of meeting President Uhuru Kenyatta. Dressed in traditional regalia, they sang traditional songs as they arrived in Nairobi with the petition to the government. Embobut forest is listed as one of the five most important water catchment areas in Kenya. Since the 1970’s, Kenya’s government, through its Forest Service guards, has carried out a series of forceful evictions of the Sengwer in Embobut. An Amnesty international report said that during evictions in 2017, forces burned more than 300 houses, injured hundreds and killed a Sengwer man.


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