Tanzania: Prosecutors Drop Murder Charges Against 24 Members of the Maasai – African Business
Responding to the decision by Tanzania’s Director of Public Prosecution to drop charges of murder and conspiracy to murder against 24 members of the Maasai, including 10 leaders, Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East and Southern Africa, said:
“Dropping these charges against members of the Maasai people is unequivocally the right decision. They shouldn’t have been arrested in any way. Their only ‘crime’ was exercising their right to protest while security forces tried to seize land from them in the name of ‘conservation’.
“Their only ‘crime’ was exercising their right to protest while security forces tried to seize land from them in the name of ‘conservation’”
Muleya Muleya Mawananyanda, Director East and Southern Africa
“The Tanzanian authorities must immediately stop their ongoing security operations in Loliondo and ensure that any traditional pastoral lands they have seized are returned to the Indigenous Maasai.
Tanzania must immediately stop restricting freedom of assembly. The government should instead take steps to protect the right to protest.”
“The Tanzanian authorities must ensure that any traditional pastoral lands they have seized are returned to the Indigenous Maasai”
On the 7th of June 2022, Tanzanian security force and Ngorongoro Conservation Area authorities arrived in Loliondo to begin evicting Maasai members. They did not provide adequate notice, compensation, or an opportunity for genuine consultation to obtain their consent. They took 1,500 kilometres (or more) of ancestral land owned by more than 70,000 Maasai.
On 9 June 2022, members of the Maasai from Ololosokwan, Oloirien, Kirtalo and Arash — four villages in Loliondo that border the Serengeti National Park — gathered to protest against the demarcation exercise by removing markers placed by security forces to outline the boundaries of the land claimed by the Maasai.
On 9 June, police arrested 10 Maasai leaders from Loliondo — a day before the policeman they were accused of murdering was actually killed — and 14 other members of the Maasai, and three others. They were held for approximately 11 days before being released and denied access to their families and lawyers.
On 10 June, security forces used firearms and tear gas against protesters in an incident that saw a policeman, Garlus Mwita, killed by an arrow, while 84-year-old Maasai community member Orias Oleng’iyo was disappeared. At least 32 Maasai were also wounded by gunshots.
Distributed by APO Group for Amnesty International
APO issued this Press Release. APO has issued this Press Release. The content is not under the control of African Business’ editorial team. This announcement is solely the responsibility of the issuer.