from ALLOYCE KIMBUNGA in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania
DAR-ES-SALAAM, (CAJ News) – TANZANIA has been urged to halt the violent forced eviction of the indigenous Maasai community north of the country.
Authorities have also been asked to launch an urgent investigation into the security crackdown which has left dozens of people injured, many missing and a police officer killed in the Loliondo region.
Amnesty International said the authorities must end the security operation immediately, and suspend any land acquisition plans until the community has given their free, prior and informed consent in genuine consultations.
More than 70 000 Maasai people are at risk of being displaced from their ancestral grazing lands to make way for a tourism operation.
“This unlawful forced eviction is shocking in both its scale and brutality,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for East and Southern Africa.
The activist said Tanzanian authorities should never have allocated this area to a private business without first consulting the Maasai community, whose livelihoods depended on their ancestral land.
“If this land confiscation goes ahead, the Maasai community’s livelihoods and way of life are in jeopardy,” Muchena said.
Tanzanian security forces began the demarcation process on June 9.
Community members began to protest by removing the beacons the security forces had set up.
Protesters were met with massive use of force by security officers, and over the next two days dozens of people sustained injuries, including bullet wounds, according to media reports.
Loliondo is in northern Ngorongoro district, in Arusha region.
It borders Serengeti National Park to the west, Ngorongoro Conservation Area to the south, and Kenya to the north.
In 1992 the Tanzanian government leased the whole of Loliondo division as a hunting block to a company from the United Arab Emirates.
The recent security forces operation is the fourth attempt to evict the Maasai, who are pastoralists.
Security forces were previously deployed in 2009, 2013 and 2017.
In 2018, the East African Court of Justice issued orders against the evictions.
– CAJ News