via Mint Press News:
Since the launch of a World Bank sponsored conservation programme in west Kenya eights years ago, the Bank-funded Kenya Forest Service (FKS) has conducted a relentless scorched earth campaign to evict the 15,000 strong indigenous Sengwer community from their ancestral homes in the Embobut forest and the Cherangany Hills. The pretext? The Sengwer are ‘squatters’ accelerating the degradation of the forest.
This October, with violence escalating, pressure from campaigners finally elicited a public response from World Bank president Jim Yong Kim, who promised to help facilitate “a lasting, peaceful resolution to this long, unfinished business of land rights in Kenya.”
But according to British film-maker Dean Puckett, who is currently on the ground in Embobut forest in west Kenya capturing extraordinary footage of recent events, the plight of the Sengwer has only worsened dramatically since Kim’s intervention.
Dean and I are working together on a documentary feature about the Sengwer. On Saturday, November 22nd, he told me, eight Sengwer people were arrested in the forest, including two school children and six elderly. He was told the story by a teenage girl who stopped Dean and his crew as they were walking through the settlement of Tangul, on the outskirts of the contested forest area.
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