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Last Updated: Monday, 11 July, 2005, 15:19 GMT 16:19 UK
Land invasion as Kenya rows grow
Land is a sensitive issue in Kenya
Thousands of Kenyans, led by an MP, have invaded land they allege was illegally grabbed during the regime of former President Daniel arap Moi.

The group say they will build a school and divide land in Eastern Province into plots for the homeless.

Kibwezi MP Kalembe Ndile told the BBC this was the beginning of mass action.

Zimbabwe's land seizures have been praised in Kenya's parliament. In April MPs called for the government to seize idle land and give it those with none.

Under former President Moi, lots of public land was handed out to influential individuals, and Mr Moi has warned the new government that attempts to reclaim land could lead to ethnic violence.

'Excessive force'

In a separate development, government officials are also due to meet Rift Valley politicians to discuss the recent eviction of 10,000 people from forest areas.

MPs have threatened to lead evicted people back to their land saying they were unjustly evicted from their ancestral home.

The government says it removed people from the forest land because it is an important water catchment area.

In the 1990s, the Rift Valley was the scene of violent ethnic and political clashes over land.

Joseph Lagat, the MP for one of the affected areas, who is from Mr Moi's Kanu party, told the BBC's Network Africa programme that those evicted over the past month had legitimately bought their land.

"The government had used excessive force on innocent people - women and children," he said.

"There are children who sleep outside, they have nowhere to stay. That's why we want to take them back to their own land."

Kenya to repossess illegal land
10 Dec 04 |  Africa
'Protecting land can avert war'
16 Dec 04 |  Africa
Country profile: Kenya
07 Jan 05 |  Country profiles

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