Two Ogiek killed in violent land clash

October 13, 2006

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Two Ogiek have died after several days of violent clashes between Ogiek and a neighbouring tribe, the Kipsigis (Kalenjin).

Violence erupted in the Rift Valley province on 7 October after some Kipsigis stole sheep belonging to an Ogiek man.

One of the dead Ogiek is alleged to have been killed by a Kipsigis policeman. More than 30 Ogiek houses have been burned and at least 12 Ogiek injured.

Kiplagat Cheruyot of the Ogiek Peoples Development Program says, ‘Today's skirmishes are about land and resources and we wish to state that Ogieks have fundamental rights to own land in Kenya… The Government should give Ogieks and other minority tribes legal recognition over their ancestral land to end invasions by other communities.’

According to the Ogiek People's Development Program nearly 100 Kipsigis and three Ogiek have been arrested so far.

The Ogiek have campaigned for years for their ancestral land to be legally recognised by the government. As it has no legal protection, Ogiek land has been invaded by outsiders who are destroying the forest and building settlements.

Ogiek leaders have issued urgent appeals to the government to protect them as they are a minority tribe and to settle all land disputes and encroachment on their forests immediately.