EU suspends Kenya’s water conservation funding

The European Union has suspended a £25.3 million water conservation funding scheme to Kenya after forest guards killed a member of a community indigenous to one of the forests involved in the project.

The program was aimed at helping the East African country plant trees, restore degraded land and protect water catchment areas in highland forests, which are a major source of water that flows into Lake Victoria and the Nile basin.

Reuters reports Stefano Dejak, the EU ambassador to Kenya, to have said that the killing of the man and the shooting of another in Embobut forest in the western region of the country, came after the bloc had told the government it would reconsider financial support if the use of force against innocent locals persisted.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights reported on its website that three UN Special Rapporteurs had expressed concerns about the recent reports of evictions of Sengwer inhabitants, the EU said in a statement.

It said the dead man was a member of the Sengwer, an indigenous group in the area.

“The conservation work on the water towers was never expected to involve any evictions or use of violence,” it said in a statement.

Judi Wakhungu, the Kenyan minister of environment and natural resources, said she did not have a formal report of the incident the EU referred to.