Tanzania said on Wednesday it would crack down on “illegal immigrants” in the north-eastern area of Loliondo, where it claims Kenyan Maasai herders are supporting opponents of a proposed wildlife sanctuary.
Loliondo’s Maasai have Allegedly, the government is trying to evict them from their land to organize safaris and hunting trips.
But the government has denied these allegations, claiming it wants to protect 1,500 square kilometers (580 sq mi) of land from human activity . It is said to be just a fraction of a region covering 4,000 square kilometers near the Kenyan border.
Tension over the project led to the death of a police officer at a protest on June 10 after teams appeared Erect stakes to demarcate the area to be protected.
“By the direction of the Minister of Interior, we will carry out a special operation against illegal immigrants around Loliondo and Ngorongoro district for 10 days altogether,” said Tanzania’s Commissioner-General for Immigration, Anna Makakala, on Wednesday.
Home Secretary Hamad Masauni last week called for tough measures to stem the “influx of illegal immigrants, most of whom drove their herds of cattle, goats and sheep into the Loliondo Game Controlled Area”.
Maasai herders live in the border area between Tanzania and Kenya, and Tanzanian authorities have said they suspect Kenyans are flocking to Loliondo to plan to support government opponents there.
Read:Tanzania expels Maasai from Ngorongoro
Tanzania has charged 20 Maasai protesters with the killing of the police officer .
The violence in Loliondo has sparked outrage among activists, with Amnesty International calling it “shocking in both its scale and brutality.”
Opponents of the sanctuary have accused the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) has asked for help but has said it is postponing an expected decision on Wednesday in the case “due to unavoidable circumstances” without giving further details.
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In 2009, thousands of Maasai families were expelled from Loliondo to allow an Emirati company called Ortelo Business Corporation to organize hunting expeditions for wealthy tourists could.
The Government canceled this deal in 2017 after allegations of corruption.
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Lo liondo is not far from the Serengeti National Park and of the volcanic crater Ngorongoro, both of which attract hundreds of thousands of tourists every year.