Wednesday, June 29, 2022
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Maasai fight for ancestral land


Thousands of Maasai herders have been without food or medical care after fleeing clashes with police in an eviction attempt to make way for a trophy hunting reserve in northern Tanzania.

An elderly man is still missing after dozens of Maasai were met by armed police after protesting evictions on June 10.

Protesters hit by bullets in video Al Jazeera. At least 18 men and 13 women were shot dead, according to human rights group Survival International. Others were suffocated by tear gas.

Kapuru Letura, a 41-year-old Maasai woman, said: “When we leave our land, we are nothing. How can we get peace and live in harmony? We have nowhere to run.”

panic

Intimidation tactics have been deployed to silence victims and deter further protests, Fiore Longo, a spokesman Survival International Tell ecologist.

She said: “Many Maasai go to Kenya to seek medical treatment. Those who cannot escape into the jungle without food or medical assistance. People are also being detained and their whereabouts are still unknown. Security forces are continuing to make arrests.

“A police officer reportedly opened fire at the market causing fear and panic. No deaths or injuries were reported.”

Security forces continue to protect land for trophy hunting, conservation and safari tourism. This will continue amid a strong international response from the UN and the African Commission on Human Rights.

Royals

Northern Tanzania is rich in wildlife and has been part of a dispute over land ownership for decades. However, tensions flared overnight.

Without prior warning, security forces placed beacons on the land to mark trophy hunting areas. Posts have been installed around 540 square miles of indigenous land near the Serengeti National Park to make way for a trophy hunting reserve.

This first step is part of a wider plan to expel some 150,000 Maasai people living in the Loliondo Wildlife Corridor and the Ngorongoro Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Loliondo’s game reserve will make way for a trophy hunting ground operated by Otterlo Business Corporation (OBC, a United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based company that offers shooting tours to members of the Dubai royal family). OBC has not issued any statement or responded to media inquiries.

pressure

The Zoological Society of Frankfurt, which manages multiple ecological projects in the Serengeti ecosystem, has been charged with aiding the violent attack.After the police attack, they denied the allegations in a public statement posted on Twitter “We were not involved in any of the decisions, nor were we involved in the beacons that were recently erected in the area.”



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