Plans to evict Maasai from Ngorongoro ends in conflict

Posted by David Henning on 17 June 2022

Tanzania’s multi-land use model is unique, in that allows the local community to live in a protected area. But a UNESCO report claims that this experiment has failed, and attempts to evict thousands of Maasai ended up in confrontation.

READ: Maasai people could be evicted from Tanzania’s Ngorongoro area

Tensions have been rising between the Tanzanian government and indigenous Maasai pastoralists, culminating with a confrontation between police officers and residents at Ololosokwani village in the Ngorongoro district on 10 June.

Reports state that the fighting erupted after Maasai locals attempted to stop game wardens and police officers attempting to demarcate a contentious plot of 1 500 square kilometres for conservation activities.

Authorities claim that the land is crucial for wildebeest reproduction and migration into the Serengeti, and have argued that the area is overpopulated by people and livestock.

Leading up to the confrontation, a paramilitary group of 700 armed police, rangers and soldiers arrived in Lolindo, in the northern Ngorongoro, which immediately instigated unrest.

Human rights organisations have accused the Tanzanian police of violence after 31 people were severely injured during the eviction.

‘They found us in a meeting and they started shooting at us like wild animals,’ one of the community members told Al Jazeera. ‘We had gone to graze our cows when we met police officers on our way who started attacking us with live bullets.’

The Indigenous Peoples’ and Community Conserved Areas and Territories consortium have criticised the government-planned ‘conservation activities,’ where the government purportedly plans to ‘create a game reserve to be controlled by the Ortello Business Corporation (OBC), which runs hunting excursions for the United Arab Emirates’ royal family and guests’.

Activists have referred to this move as a form of ‘green colonialism’ where indigenous populations are evicted from land to create a game reserve for the rich.


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