Indigenous Maasai people in Loliondo region,Tanzania have been facing
new cases of forced evictions and human rights violations, a major
international organisation supporting indigenous peoples’ struggle for
human rights and self-determination warned.
“Forced and illegal evictions of Maasai pastoralists and serious human
rights violations are right now happening in Tanzania,” the
International Working Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA) has alerted
quoting “reliable information.”
The reported violations have been taking place on registered village
land in Loliondo Division of Ngorongoro District, Arusha Region, IWGIA
informs in an “evidence-based urgent alert.”
“Maasai pastoralists in Loliondo are at the moment being subjected to
serious human rights violations including forced evictions, burning of
houses, loss of property and livestock and serious harassment,” Marianne
Wiben Jensen, IWGIA’ senior advisor on Land Rights (Africa), confirmed
“They find themselves in a very serious situation with food insecurity
and impoverishment and many are suffering from psychological trauma,”
Asked if it is about an unprecedented case, Wiben Jensen told IPS “The
Maasai pastoralists in Loliondo have been subjected to similar forced
evictions and human rights violations previously, such as in 2009.”
It is very important to find “a long lasting solution that will
guarantee that no further evictions will take place and that the rights
of the pastoralists to their legally registered village lands are
secured,” she stressed.
A lot of evictions and human rights violations toward pastoralists have
reportedly taken place over the years in Tanzania, as documented in
IWGIA’s report: Tanzania Pastoralists threatened: eviction, human rights
violations and loss of livelihood.
The report explores the evictions of pastoralists and other conflicts
over pastoralists’ land in Tanzania, with focus on the past decade.
“Although most of these evictions and land based conflicts have been
documented, the associated human and legal rights violations have
increasingly lead to concern” amongst civil society.
“According to community testimonies provided in field work, it was found
that not only are pastoralists losing their legitimate village land
through government endorsed evictions and land encroachments, but these
eviction processes and conflicts lead to loss of livelihood and loss of
It was further alleged that serious human and legal rights violations
are committed during eviction processes, none of which have been
addressed, warns the study.
“Reports indicate that Maasai houses/bomas have been burned down,
livestock have been lost, people have been forced to pay fines, and have
been harassed and threatened,” IWGIA informed in its latest alert,
adding that it has been reported that there is lack of water and food
and that men, women, children and the elderly have to sleep out with no
“Families are being separated, and many people are now suffering from
psychological trauma because of the evictions and harassment.” The
evictions are creating food insecurity and lead to impoverishment.
The Copenhagen-based international human rights organisation supporting
indigenous peoples right to territory, control of land and resources,
cultural integrity, and the right to development, also informs that
precise data at this time is not available, but according to the
information received the following violations have taken place:
— On the 13 and 14 August 2017, an estimated 185 Maasai bomas
(homesteads) were burned down by Serengeti National Park (SENAPA) and
Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA) rangers, supported by
police from Loliondo.
As a result, it is estimated that approximately 6.800 people have been
rendered homeless, had most of their property destroyed and been left
without any shelter, food or water. The number is still increasing
since the violent eviction is still going on.
People’s livestock are also unprotected and many have scattered into the surrounding areas.
— It is yet to be established how many livestock have been lost.
However, it is reported that more than 2000 livestock have been lost in
Ololosokwa village alone.
The eviction operation started on the 13 August in Ololosokwan village,
and on 14 August the operation reportedly continued in several other
areas: Oloosek, Illoibor Ariak, Endashata areas in Ololosokwan village,
Oleng’usa area in Kirtalo village, Oloorkiku area in Oloipiri village
and Loopilukuny area in Oloirien village.
“All the affected areas are classified as legally registered village
land as per the Village Land Act no. 5 of 1999 under the formal
administration of their respective village governments as per the Local
Government Act, adds IWGIA.
Although accurate figures are hard to arrive at since ethnic groups are
not included in the population census, the estimated number of Maasai in
Tanzania is around 430,000.
The evictions take place at a point of time where pastoralists are
trying to cope with a serious drought in the area, which has diminished
the quantity and quality of pastures for their livestock, IWGIA adds.
There are reported incidents of pastoralists grazing their livestock
within the Serengeti National Park, and having to pay massive fines to
the [Serengeti National Park] SENAPA rangers, the organisation warns.
“It is reported that even pastoralists grazing their cattle outside the
park boundaries have been fined. In conjunction with this, it is also
reported that at least one young man from Olosokwan village has been
shot and seriously injured by SENAPA rangers outside Serengeti National
“Now the on-going evictions and harassment, coupled as it is with the
drought, make the local peoples’ situation even more desperate.”
It is not
entirely clear who ordered the eviction. Reportedly there was no
consultation at either District Council or Village Government level, nor
with the people directly affected, which means there was no agreement
on the evictions either.
There was no warning given.
“The evictions and human rights violations are carried out by armed
SENAPA and [Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority] NCAA rangers
supported by Loliondo police officers.”
It is also not clear why the evictions are happening and no official
reason has so far been given, adds IWGIA. “It will be important to
clearly establish who ordered the evictions and why such that these
relevant authorities can be held responsible.”
The latest development is that a press statement released by the
Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism stated that the purpose of the
operation is to remove livestock and housing from Serengeti National
Park and also from the boundary areas, which are legally registered
village land, and it is clear from the press release that houses/bomas
are being burned on village land, warns IWGIA.
The evictions, harassment and human rights violations take place within
an area of where several other attempts of forced evictions have taken
place over the years (such as in 2009, 2010 and 2015 where thousands of
people lost their homes and properties), the organisation reports.
“Local leaders say that the on-going eviction is an operation organised
to ensure that there will be no more people or livestock living in the
villages of the area. This area, which is legally registered village
land encompassing 8 villages, covers 1.500 km2 and has long been leased
by the Government of Tanzania as the key hunting block in the Loliondo
Game Controlled Area.”
Taken from a report by Baher Kamel here