The government Tuesday ruled out extension of eviction notices to thousands of Embobut forest squatters as armed officers trooped to the Cherangani catchment in readiness for the takeover of the expansive complex.
Each of the 2,874 households settled at the forest received Sh400,000 from the government in November last year to buy alternative land to settle.
Some of Kenya Forest Service (KFS) rangers arrived in lorries at Kipsitona, Tangul and Maron locations within the catchment on Tuesday.
Officers drawn from the regular police, provincial administration AP, GSU, and Kenya Wildlife Service are expected to join them Wednesday.
Elgeyo-Marakwet County Commissioner Arthur Osiya told the Nation Tuesday that there would be no extension of the eviction order as appealed by local politicians and the squatters.
“As far as I am concerned, the best time for these people to move out is now since it is the beginning of the year so they can plan for the year,” said Mr Osiya.
But local MP Kangogo Bowen said the evictions came at a time when parents were struggling to take children to school while others were still shopping for suitable land to buy. Others, he added, had not sold their livestock.
Mr Osiya put on notice human rights activists whom he blamed for inciting the squatters.
Marakwet East sub-county commissioner Husein Alaso Husein said police would not burn houses or destroy property. The squatters will be allowed to move their belongings and given the chance to destroy their structures.
President Kenyatta and his deputy, Mr William Ruto, distributed Sh1.149 billion to the squatters at Tangul Primary School in November last year.