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Samburu Testimonial Series No 4 - Noosunya and Ntaramatwa

Noosunya and Ntaramatwa both lost their houses and belongings and were now moving from place to place.

The Samburu of Kisargei, in Kenya’s Laikipia district, were brutally evicted from the lands they call home after the land was sold to the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF). AWF – with funds from The Nature Conservancy (TNC) – says it bought the land on the understanding that no-one lived there. When the Samburu protested and took the matter to the courts the land was hurriedly ‘gifted’ to the government. This is the third in a series of text and video based testimonials produced by Jo Woodman of Survival International, Zoe Young - freelance film maker and Nicholas Winer of Just Conservation.


Noosunya and Ntaramatwa were interviewed together upstairs in the Nyeri court house. They had both suffered in the evictions, losing their houses and belongings and were now moving from place to place hoping to be able to return to their lands and rebuild their lives.

Noosunya

I have lived there a long, long time. Our children were born there, they have got married and they have children of their own. It is my home. There is no other place that I am attached to like that. I had my children there, that’s where I get my water. There is no other place that I can call my home. 

Our homes were burned and we were chased out. Our only source of water was dismantled and now we have no safe source of water. The government, the soldiers did this to us. There is even a white man from Ol Pajeta who came, he was involved too. 

Take my voice anywhere that you think can enable this problem to be solved – you take it, because we have so many problems. Because now I am nothing. The only land that I had has been taken away. Now I am only running up and down, I have no place to settle. That was the only place I know. If there is any one who can help me. I have so much problems. They were all caused when we were evicted from this land. I want to go back. Please tell the world that I want to go back. 

We are neglected, we don’t have water, we don’t have schools, we are in a place of uncertainty. 

Ntaramatwa

I am telling the world: what used to be my land is no longer my land. My children cannot go to school. They have no water. I cannot settle down. I am just running up and down. Where I am is just temporary, tomorrow I will go to another place and that life is no good for us.

Our land that was taken, it was just taken, we were not told. I didn’t even know, I only knew when the eviction begun. It is very, very strange. We are evicted from this land and now some people with no connection to this land have been brought to settle there. So instead of leaving us in peace these security forces have come to punish us with arrests, beatings, torture of the community.

When that group of soldiers came. They burned all our shelters, there were young animals in those shelters that were burned. We were chased and ran to the bushes and sometimes the children ran different ways into the bush. Our animals were taken – oh, so many problems.

The day of the eviction we left, but then we came back. After we came back then they came with more soldiers. They did all bad things to the people. They beat us. They raped young girls and women. Many bad things – I cannot even tell you. Even after we have moved outside they came and they beat some elders, some were killed, some were tortured. Even after we were on the outside, they kept on following us. We had no shelter, it was raining. We were sleeping in the water – water that could sweep you away. Still they did these bad things. You are sleeping in water and still you are being beaten. So how much is that punishment? This is excessive punishment. And the worst punishment is that all these things are happening but we don’t have any place to get information. We have seen now that education is better than anything else. As we have no access to education we have no hospital for our children, just we are going and have no where to go. Now again there is no water. The only water source that we had was dismantled and closed and now there is no water. Today, if you realised where we go to take water, you will realise that we really are very poor people. Filthy dirty water. There is no human being who can take that water, only monkeys but we are taking this water because we have no choice. Because no-one is really interested in our plight. The government has no good for us.

We saw the soldiers. But there were people behind them. People we didn’t see, who were behind what happened to us. If it is possible, they should be stopped from taking our land and they should leave us in peace. They should be stopped from coming to our land so that we can go back and settle again on our land. If there is a way that you can help us so that we can go back then we know we can plan, for schools, for water and for better things. We can settle and have a plan for our lives.

Interviews conducted by Jo Woodman

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[1] A team from Survival International and the Centre for International Human Rights Law and Advocacy attended the March 2012 hearing.

Note: These interviews have been edited for purposes of brevity and clarity.

More information on the Samburu evictions at:

http://www.justconservation.org/conservation-and-the-violation-of-the-rights-of-the-samburu


http://www.justconservation.org/kenyas-samburu-people-violently-evicted-after-us-charities-buy-land


http://www.justconservation.org/kenya-rights-groups-threaten-to-sue-kws-over-samburu-perennial-land-disputes

http://www.justconservation.org/conservations-dirty-secrets

http://www.justconservation.org/theres-more-to-conservation-than-tigers-and-pandas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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