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Fortress Conservation: Tension in Tanzania’s Loliondo as troops move in to evict Maasai to make way for game reserve

June 10, 2022

There is tension in Tanzania’s Loliondo division since June 8, 2022, when dozens of police personnel arrived to reportedly evict Maasai tribespeople in the area in order to make way for a game reserve for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) royal family, Survival International and the Oakland Institute have alleged.

Both organisations shared videos on social media from the area June 9, including the villages of Ololosokwan and Kirtalo. These purportedly showed smoke rising as gunfire resounded in the background and protesting Maasai ran for cover.

Both organisations also shared graphic photographs showing gunshot wounds sustained by Maasai in the area. Down To Earth cannot vouch for the veracity of the material.

Survival International is an organisation that works for the rights of tribal and uncontacted peoples across the world. The Oakland Institute is an independent policy think tank, “bringing fresh ideas and bold action to the most pressing social, economic, and environmental issues of our time.”

Oakland Institute, in a statement June 9, said dozens of police vehicles from the anti-riot Field Force Unit (FFU) arrived in Wasso town of the Loliondo division of Ngorongoro district to demarcate a 1,500 square kilometre area of land as a game reserve.

The FFU and other forces have set up camp in the Oloosek area of Ololosokwan and in Sanjan sub-village of Malambo, the statement added.

“The arrival of a heavy police force signals the government has moved forward with plans to change the status of the Loliondo Game Controlled Area into a Game Reserve, which would trigger mass evictions of Maasai living in legally registered villages within the area,” it read.