Sunday, August 7, 2022

Tanzanian herdsmen charged with murder

The 25 suspects had taken part in protests against the eviction of their community from their ancestral land in Loliondo in the northern Ngorongoro district.

• July 1, 2022
Maasai herder
Photo of Maasai herder used to illustrate the story

Twenty-five Maasai herders are facing murder charges in Tanzania after being arrested over an attack on the police.

The 25 suspects had taken part in protests against the eviction of their community from their ancestral land in Loliondo in the northern Ngorongoro district.

The government had planned to use their ancestral land for conservation and a luxury hunting reserve, eliciting violent confrontation with the pastoralists.

A police officer was allegedly shot by an arrow on June 10 while trying to demarcate land in Loliondo, which borders Serengeti national park. The officer later died. 

On June 16, the men were brought before a court and charged with murder, along with 10 other men arrested last week. On Thursday, the men appeared before a magistrates’ court in the northern town of Arusha.

The case has been adjourned to July 14 by 

Resident Magistrate Herieth Mhenga as police investigations continue.

The protests began in June, when police began to demarcate 1,500 sq kms of land to make way for the reserve, to be operated by a UAE-owned company handling luxury hunting and safari services. 

In February, Tanzania’s tourism minister Damas Ndumbaro, said the Maasai did not have a claim to their homeland.  Over 70,000 Maasai face eviction from land in Loliondo. The community has been under threat of eviction since 2012 but previous efforts to force them from their land were thwarted.

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