News 2008



13 February 2008

A leader of the indigenous Ogiek nation in Kenya has received a death threat by telephone. An unknown caller told Mr Mpoiok Kobei, 'We need your head before Tuesday nineteenth, this month.'

Around a thousand people are thought to have died in Kenya in violence that followed disputed poll results six weeks ago, and more than 600,000 have been forced to flee their homes.

Hundreds of Ogiek families have been caught up in the violence and are among the displaced people. Several young Ogiek have been shot, Ogiek homes have been burned down, and there have been allegations of rape of Ogiek women by police.

The Ogiek are one of the few remaining hunter-gatherer peoples in East Africa. They live in the Mau mountain forest, overlooking the Rift Valley. They gather honey from beehives which they make from hollow logs and place in the high branches of the forest trees.

The Ogiek have been struggling for many years to resist eviction from their forest, and to protect it from settlers, loggers and tea plantations.

The anonymous phonecall was received at 17h15 has been traced to number +254-51-61484, which is a public phone booth in Njoro. A police report has been made, but nobody has been arrested yet.