Man commits suicide as NFA evicts encroachers from Kei Forest Reserve
A man committed suicide after an eviction exercise that left more than 5,000 people homeless in Yumbe district recently. According to residents, the deceased died after his property was destroyed in an NFA exercise meant to remove people who had encroached on the Kei Forest Reserve.
Amid Yambio, a resident, said during the eviction by the National Forestry Authority (NFA), at least two gardens of tobacco were uprooted and burnt. Also demolished were crops and houses.
Local leaders say the forestry authority did not give people ample time to relocate. However, the Yumbe sub-county chief Jamal Kiira explains the matter thus: “NFA passed two ultimatums. The first one expired on December 31 last year. After, people were given another one week to vacate the reserve,” he explains.
He said the exercise affected many people because people had bought plots of land cheaply from other settlers in the reserves. The exercise affected 5,000 people from Yumbe and 1,000 from Koboko district. This is not the first time NFA is evacuating people from forest reserves in the area, with injuries. In June 2008, another similar exercise left scores injured as they tried to resist eviction.