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Avoid violent evictions

Alexander Chagema
 When police engaged residents of Mukuru Kwa Njenga slum in running battles as they protested against grabbing of contested land in the area. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

Tanzania security forces are reported to have shot at thousands of Maasai herders protesting the cordoning off part of their ancestral land to create a wildlife conservation area. The shootings have elicited international condemnation.

While the herders claim the government wants to evict them to create room for private hunting expeditions, the government says it wants to protect 1,500 square kilometers from human activity. This could be informed by the need to stop human-wildlife conflict by stopping encroachment on wildlife sanctuaries.

It is likely the government means well, but its approach and manner of execution leaves a lot to be desired. The Maasai have lived in the area for centuries. Any evictions, if it must come to that, should be done in a humane manner.

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