Yesterday a Kenyan court recognized the transfer of title to the property known as Eland Downs, from the African Wildlife Foundation to the Kenya Wildlife Service, the government agency that manages Kenya’s national park system. The decision is disputed by Samburu people who were evicted from the property last year when former president Daniel arap Moi sold it to the African Wildlife Foundation. In collaboration with The Nature Conservancy, the African Wildlife Foundation transferred title to the property to the Kenya Wildlife Service to create a new Laikipia National Park. The Samburu will continue to argue their right to the property when the court reconvenes in 2012.
The Guardian newspaper quoted the Samburu community’s lawyer, Korir Sing’Oei, saying, “The court has turned a blind eye to the pleas of the Samburu community and allowed these illegalities to subsist…. The transfer [of the land to the KWS] is totally unlawful and it’s in flagrant violation of the interests of the Samburu community.”
Korir Sing’Oei said he will also file a separate lawsuit for redress and compensation to the Samburu people. “Last year, when the community was forcefully evicted from the land…their homes were burnt down and livestock confiscated in their hundreds and lots of their women were violated,” he was quoted in the Guardian.
The Samburu intend to stay on the land while the matter is in court.
For additional new press reports on the Samburu eviction case and the attempt to create a new national park on the disputed land, see: