The Tanzanian Government has deployed soldiers to force over 70,000 Maasai people out of their ancestral lands which the government wants to use for conservation zones and trophy hunting.
Human rights organisation Survival International and 2020 election presidential candidate Tundu Lissu have accused the army in Tanzania of waging war against the Maasai by shooting them with live bullets in a bid to evict them in Ngorongoro District and take over 1,500 square kilometres.
Lissu urged international organisations and governments to cut aid to Tanzania over the violence against the Maasai.
“After decades of unsuccessful attempts to starve the Ngorongoro Maasai out of their ancestral lands, Tanzania govt is now waging a violent war against them. The international community has a responsibility to intervene & end these human rights abuses & hold the govt accountable,” said Lissu.
Survival International, a global movement for tribal peoples, also tweeted on Friday about the war on the Maasai and the human rights abuses being faced by the people.
“Shocking violence happening now in Loliondo, Tanzania – military firing on Maasai, who are being evicted from the area for conservation zones & trophy hunters,” the organisation said.
Clips shared on social media show people fleeing from gunshots in the Loliondo area and Maasai people protesting against the violence. Some images show people with bullet wounds.
“It started with tear gas and it turned to live bullets,” Joseph Oleshangay, a Maasai lawyer, activist and resident of Ngorongoro told international media.
However, Tanzania’s Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa said no-one was being evicted and security forces were only putting landmarks on the land.
Media reports indicate that the Tanzanian government had planned to lease the 1,500 square kilometers of Maasai ancestral land to Otterlo Business Corporation (OBC) but the Maasai went to the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) where an injunction was granted prohibiting the destruction of Maasai property, the harassment of the Maasai, and the eviction of the people as well as their more than 200,000 livestock.
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