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1. Who are the Ogiek?
The Ogiek are an indigenous people that live in and around the Mau Forest, an area of 900 square kilometers (550 square miles) about 200 kilometers (125 miles) northwest of Nairobi, the capital of Kenya and others live in the forests around Mt. Elgon at the border to Uganda.
2. What is the controversy surrounding the Ogiek?
For decades, the Ogiek have fought with first the British colonial and then the Kenyan government over their right to inhabit the Mau Forest and Mount Elgon forest where they have lived for hundreds of years. The Kenyan government insists that the places are forest zones and environmentally protected under the Forest Act. Authorities have then ordered the Ogiek to leave the forest, saying that they had been allocated land years ago but had abandoned it and returned to the forest. The Ogiek believe that they have a right to live in what they consider to be their ancestral home and that the government is trying to force them out of the forest to give the land to private individuals. For more information about Ogiek click this link to visit their website: http://www.ogiek.org/