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A police officer was killed on Friday, June 10, in northern Tanzania during confrontations with the local Masai community, which opposes the installation of ” tags separate areas of human habitation and wildlife, a local official announced Saturday.
The Masai of Loliondo have for several years opposed the Tanzanian authorities, which they accuse of wanting. throw part of their historic habitat out to make it an area reserved for game drives and private hunts, which the government denies. He claims to want to protect 1,500 km² of the 4,000 km² of this region, not far from the Serengeti Park, from human activities, leaving 2,500 km² to the Masai shepherds.
In a video statement Saturday afternoon, the prefect of the Arusha region, John Mongela, said a police officer had been killed late Friday when teams came to install poles separating the two residential areas.
” It is very unfortunate that a policeman was killed by arrows fired by a group of people who wanted to block the killing of beacons and even wanted to attack those who carried out these operations “, he says.
Rising tensions between the Masai community and the government
According to photos and videos on social networks, several dozen Masai opposed these operations during the day. These images also showed Masai scattering while shots were fired. According to community activists, police fired sharp ammunition.
🚨 Currently, soldiers are firing real bullets at the Masai and protesting the destruction of 1500 km² of their ancestral land to make room for trophy hunting.
This is the reality of conservation in Africa.@GermanyTanzania @FZS_Frankfurt @KfW pic.twitter.com/2KfxhZujnL
– Survival International – in French (@survivalfr) June 10, 2022
Lawyer and human rights activist Joseph Moses Oleshangay says that ” more than 40 people were seriously injured “and that” an injured man over 80 is missing “.
The police, the soldiers arrived at the village without notice. They started installing boundary wire. The villagers resisted. Police began using tear gas and ammunition. Many people were hit, injured. Residents started firing arrows and I think that was how the policeman was hit.
Yanick Ndoinyo, Director of the Traditional Ecosystems Survival Tanzania NGO
With reference to “several people are injured and without medication” and “ eight constituency officials whose fate is unknown, the president of the Tanzanian coalition of human rights defenders, Onesmo Olengurumwa, is asking President Samia Suluhu Hassan to intervene.
” There are no injuries to our hospitals so far and if anyone has been injured, they need to be treated “, prefects John Mongela answers, considering that pictures” was distributed by malicious people “. The placement of beacons continued calmly this Saturday, he adds.
The painful memory of the expulsions of Lolilondo
On Friday, Tanzania’s Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa reiterated to Parliament that ” no evictions are planned in Loliondo “. But members of the Masai community still fear that they will have to leave their country, located just 125 km north of the famous Ngorongoro Reserve, where the government wants to stem the explosion of the human population.
The Masai and their herds are in competition with wildlife and ” Ngorongoro gets lost said President Samia Suluhu Hassan last year. The government offered the residents of the crater a voluntary relocation program.
“The government must stop the military deployment immediately because it risks exacerbating tensions,” said Yanick Ndoïnyo, a Loliondo native and director of the NGO Traditional Ecosystems Survival Tanzania.
The government should open the door to dialogue because the Masai way of life is pro-nature conservation. Their way of life has always been associated with protecting the environment. So they are ready to discuss cohabitation with a protected area in the same area.
As early as 2009, thousands of families were expelled from Loliondo for allowing an emirate company, Ortelo Business Corporation (OBC), to organize hunting trips. The government finally terminated this agreement in 2017 after allegations of corruption.
(and with AFP)