War drives Kenya’s Aweer from the forest where they find God

By Mark Faulkner
July 16, 2021

Until relatively recently, Kenya's Boni forest was an oasis of peace occupied by the Aweer, a nomadic hunter-gatherer community. The poor, sandy soils and unreliable rainfall rendered this dry lowland forest on Africa's east coast unsuitable for agriculture, and the ubiquitous tsetse fly meant pastoralists were averse to grazing their cows or camels in this remote corner of Kenya.

So, the Aweer, also known as Boni, had the place for their own for more than 2,000 years, trading wild animal skins with their neighbors and developing a reputation as elephant hunters. Their traditional hunting of the pachyderms was sustainable, however, and until recently, the area boasted one of the largest elephant populations in east Africa.

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