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Last Updated: Monday, 16 August, 2004, 15:26 GMT 16:26 UK
Kenya Maasai land claims rejected
The Maasai want white farmers evicted
The Kenyan government has rejected demands by ethnic Maasai protesters for the return of land leased to British settlers 100 years ago.

Lands Minister Amos Kimunya said the government did not recognise the colonial-era treaties.

The original lease expired this weekend on one million hectares of land, traditionally used by the Maasai and then occupied by white farmers.

On Friday, more than 100 Maasai tribesman demonstrated in Nairobi.

Dressed in traditional regalia, the Maasai handed a petition to the Kenyan lands and justice ministries and demanded compensation from the UK.

The one million hectare area is now subdivided among some white farmers, who own ranches, and black Kenyans, who practice small-scale farming.

The Maasai want the white farmers to be evicted and compensation from the British for the land occupied by the black farmers.

The Maasai Civil Society Group, which represents members of the community scattered in eight districts throughout Kenya, says if the demands are not met, it will consider legal action.

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