World Bulletin / News Desk
The European Union on Wednesday suspended a €31 million ($37 million) conservation project with Kenya after a man was shot dead by forest guards who were attempting to evict members of an indigenous community.
The six-year project, launched in June 2016, is aimed at protecting ground supplies of water, known as water towers, in the Mount Elgon and Cherangani Hills areas of Kenya.
Embobut Forest in western Kenya has become a center of focus over land rights amid ongoing efforts by officials of the Kenya Forest Service to evict members of the indigenous Sengwer community from their ancestral land in a bid to protect the forest’s biodiversity.
On Tuesday, forest service officers shot and killed a herder in the forest while injuring at least two others while evicting a section of the community, sparking outrage.
Speaking to journalists in Nairobi, EU Ambassador Stefano Dejak said the EU had warned Kenyan security forces against using excessive force against the Sengwer community.
"Yesterday's shooting took place after we had formally alerted Kenya's government that the use of force by Kenya Forest Service guards in Embobut Forest or elsewhere against innocent locals would lead the EU to suspend its financial support for conservation work on the country's water towers," Dejak said.
"Accordingly, we are now suspending support to the Water Towers Programme with the government of Kenya."
Dejak condemned the killing of the herder and the shooting of other people from the community.
In a statement responding to the suspension of the funds over indigenous human rights violations, Elias Kimaiyo from the Sengwer community said "this is the beginning of the first step in our land rights struggles. If they had listened to us, and we have been crying for a long time, then this would not have happened, and the funds could have been used in a constructive way to help conservation and not used in a violent way for human rights violations. That they are suspending this money is good news."
The slain herder has been identified as 41-year-old Robert Kirotich.
The Sengwer are a group of hunters and gatherers who depend solely on the Embobut Forest for sustenance. One of the last forest-dwelling communities in the East African country, they are believed to number around 33,000, according to Kenya's 2009 census.
The government of the economically-ravaged country has for many years heavily subsidized petrol and Maduro says this has now led to a voracious black market in oil smuggled to neighbouring countries.
Iraqi premier will meet Turkish President Erdogan during the visit
US to strengthen military 'like never ever before,' Trump says of $716B bill
Some 69 children were among those arrested by Israel last month
The militant was convicted of killing a number of police and army personnel in Nineveh province
If US officials confirm "the offer for the FBI to investigate links in Florida with the assassination plan... I would agree for the FBI to come here," Maduro said at an event with top military leaders late on Saturday.
Move comes after US re-imposed first round of economic sanctions on Iran, targeting country’s banking sector
Move comes few days after Pakistan, Russia signed agreement for military officers’ training
More than 160 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in Gaza since March
Clothing retailer’s advertising campaign on YouTube receives more than 1 million hits
Officer Mike Moore tells group of African Americans 'you don’t belong in my city'
‘Terrorists’ attempted to infiltrate Iraqi territory from Syria, Defense Ministry says
US President Donald Trump said Friday he had doubled steel and aluminum tariffs on Turkey, adding to pressure on that nation's troubled economy amid a diplomatic row with Washington.
Fredericton police in eastern Canada calls on public to stay in their homes with doors locked for safety
Italian Foreign Ministry called on all parties to respect cease-fire