On June 9, extremely disturbing images of injured Maasai pastoralists have been coming out of Loliondo-Ngorongoro as Maasai Activist, Issaya Olepose Laizer, gets arrested after he criticized the Prime Minister on Club House, Tanzania.
Dozens of police personnel opened fire on crowds injuring several people to reportedly evict them from their ancestral lands in order to make way for a game reserve for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) royal family, say reports.
The Maasai are being violently evicted to make room for trophy hunting carried out by Otterlo Business Corporation. The company organises hunting for Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister, Minister of Defence of the United Arab Emirates, and the ruler of Dubai.
Otterlo Business Corporation has lobbied for many years to have the 1,500 km2 of Maasai village land turned into a protected area. Despite Otterlo Business Corporation’s record of involvement in violent evictions of the Maasai, burning homes, and killing of thousands of rare animals, the company will reportedly now control commercial hunting in the area.
In an “Urgent Alert”, the Oakland Institute warns that arrival of this heavy police force “signals the government has moved forwards 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.”
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.
Tanzania’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism had announced plans earlier this month to change the status of several Game Controlled Areas to Game Reserves.