Ogiek People Under Attack In
Kenya's Rift Valley
By Joe De Capua
30 January 2008
interview with Ogiek leader - (MP3) 968 kb
interview with Ogiek leader - (MP3) 241 kb
The violence in Kenya’s Rift Valley is now targeting the Ogiek
people, who are indigenous hunter-gatherers in the Mau Forest.
Reports say homes are being burned and many people have been
Survival International says the Ogiek have been fighting for many
years against eviction and for protection from loggers, settlers
and tea plantations.
Kiplangat Cheruyot is a leader of the Ogiek. From the Mau Forest,
he spoke to VOA English to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua
about the situation there.
“I’m in the Mau Forest and the situation currently is that there
is tension. The police are everywhere and there are some houses,
which are burning of the Ogiek people,” he says. He says that 15
people have been injured so far.
Asked who is burning Ogiek homes, Cheruyot says, “Kikuyu are
burning our houses…and…the police are just watching and are not
taking any action. Most of his people have fled deeper in the Mau
“Close to 600 people for the last…week…have fled inside part of
the forest. And now they are seeking refuge in the caves…and are
still hiding there and they could not come out of there. They have
left their houses and their things. (The) majority of their houses
are being burned and those who were injured were transferred to…district
hospital, where they’re getting some treatment,” he says.
Cheruyot says he knows why the houses are being burned. “They say
the Ogiek voted for the ODM (opposition party) and Raila Odinga.”
He says the Ogiek pledged their support to Odinga because he
promised them he would fight for the rights of indigenous people.
“We the Ogiek as a minority community, we don’t believe in war at
all. We haven’t engaged anybody in war.” He says up until the
political violence broke out last December, the Ogiek and Kikuyu
got along very well and some even married.