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Squatters battle former President Moi and charities over wildlife park

Samburu man grazing cattle alongside wildlife in the wilds of the Laikipia county. PHOTO | TONY KARUMBA | AFP
Samburu man grazing cattle alongside wildlife in the wilds of the Laikipia county. PHOTO | TONY KARUMBA | AFP  

Samburu herders in Kenya are fighting for control of 17,000 acres of land that a former president sold to become a national park, in a case fraught with tensions over conservation and colonial dispossession.

The Samburu, a semi-nomadic people with the same language and culture as the Maasai, claim ownership of the disputed ranch in Kenya's troubled Laikipia County, saying they squatted on it for 25 years before being evicted for wildlife conservation.

After an 8-year court battle, judges last month rejected their claim, clearing the way for the land to be turned into Laikipia National Park, managed by government-owned Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS).

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