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MUA leader arrested in anti-Ngorongoro evictions demo

Police in Nairobi cornered the MUA officials outside Tanzania’s High Commission

BY KNU

Maasai Unity Agenda boss, Jonathan Pasha was on Friday arrested in Nairobi for leading a protest against the eviction of the Ngorongoro Maasai in Tanzania.

Pasha was in the company of Joel Mitaya, and Myson Nkuruna when they were cornered by teargas-throwing policemen outside the Tanzanian High Commission in Nairobi.

The three, after others fled from the police, were thrown into a police vehicle and taken directly to Central Police Station where they were locked up.

Pasha told News Update he was joined by other officials in demonstrating against Tanzania’s government they accused of using violence against Maasai herders in Ngorongoro, Tanzania.

As the police in Nairobi cornered the MUA officials outside Tanzania’s High Commission, hundreds of Kenya Maasai converged at the Namanga border town to push the same cause.

At the border, the police stayed away from the peaceful demonstrators who castigated Tanzania’s President Samia Siluhu for allegedly valuing wild animals and trophy hunters over the Maasai community members living in her country.

As the two demonstrations took place in Kenya, a chief magistrate court in Arusha, Tanzania presided over a case against 20 members of the Maasai people from Ngorongoro accused by the state of murder.

They are accused of killing a police officer during the first day of the eviction carried out by Tanzania’s armed police personnel last week.

During the eviction, Ngorongoro MP Lenkishon Shangai said, more than 30 Maasai men, women, and the old people were injured and had crossed over into Kenya to seek treatment.

Shangai told the Star on the phone from Loliondo in Tanzania that on the list of the injured he shared with us are 31 women and men who suffered bullet injuries on their legs, shoulders, and hands.

Among the injured, too, is Orias Olengiyo, 70, who suffered a broken leg.

The MP said the elderly man was caught in clashes between the armed police officers and the Maasai morans on June 11.

Thirteen women with broken arms and legs are on the list, and most of them were taken either to Bomet county hospital or other private hospitals in Kenya.

The peaceful demonstrations to protest the injury of the evictees in Loliondo District in Tanzania brought together Maasais of different professions who reside in Nairobi and its environs converging at the Professional Centre in Nairobi on Friday.

The Maasai protestors started marching peacefully towards the Tanzanian High Commission from the direction of Sheria House.

Journalists interviewed Pasha and Jenipher Nashipae, the MUA National Coordinator, and furnished them with a signed formal Mua petition against the maiming, arrests, and forceful relocation of Maasais by President Suluhu from Liliondo District in Tanzania.

As the group marched peacefully towards the Tanzanian High Commission in Nairobi, a contingent of police approached with sirens blaring accompanied by several police vehicles.

The police surrounded the peaceful protestors and demanded that they disperse.

In no time, tear gas was thrown into the crowd of protestors. A number of the Maa leaders including Pasha were arrested and taken to the central police station on University Way.

Background

The Maasai community in Tanzania is calling on their government to stop the mass evictions and human rights violations directed at their members in Loliondo and Ngorongoro conservation areas.

The evictions are carried out to make space for safari tourism and wildlife hunting.

The Maasais are also asking the regional and global community to join them in solidarity.

The Tanzanian government, with the support of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), is preparing to evict 167,000 Maasai (97,000 living in the Ngorongoro conservation area and 70,000 in Loliondo) from their ancestral lands.

In Loliondo, the Tanzanian government is planning to lease the 1500sq km of Maasai land to the Otterlo Business Company (OBC), a Dubai royal trophy hunting firm.

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