Tensions between the Tanzanian government and the indigenous Maasai pastoralists intensify in the wake of attacks by Police officers on the residents of Ololosokwani village in the Ngorongoro district.
A video clip recorded by a human rights activist show a number of elderly villagers who say that they were attacked by the police with sharp objects and others were shot with live bullets. The Maasai were seen with wounds on their limbs and heads according to activist eye witnesses. At least 31 people were severely injured and hundreds are displaced.
A few government sources however, state otherwise, claiming that the fighting erupted after locals mobilized and tried to stop game wardens and police officers, who came to demarcate a plot of roughly 1500 square kilometers.
This incident resurfaced the latest concerns revolving around the government plans to evict at least 150,000 Maasai people living within the Ngorongoro conservation area to other parts of the country. According to the authorities, the land is crucial for wildebeest reproduction and migration into Serengeti and a vital source of water for the national park. Ngorongoro is a UNESCO World heritage site, where wildlife and Maasai co-exist uniquely. However, the government has stated that the area is now overpopulated by humans and their livestock.
The locals and activists, instead, say that the government wants to make way for trophy hunting through a luxury hunting and Safari company known as the Otterlo Business Corporation. It is renowned as the company that organizes hunting trips for the royal family of the United Arab Emirates.
The Maasai have denied all allegations of destroying the wildlife by stating that they have taken care of the environment and coexisted with various wild animals. Tourists visiting their very traditional lifestyle that has remained unchanged for hundreds of years are in awe of the balance between their lives and nature.
A Maasai woman has also denied the claims for killing the animals present in the Game reserves, mentioning that the Maasai are in fact the ones looking after them and why their eviction will be profitable to wild life.
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