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Tanzania government taken to East African Court over land disputes

DAR ES SALAAM – Four villages in Ngorongoro district in Tanzania’s Arusha region have taken the Tanzanian government to the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) over longstanding, unresolved land disputes, a suit filed in the court said on Tuesday.

The suit said four villages of Ololosokwan, Olorien, Kirtalo and Arash have filed the case alleging that their eviction from their ancestral land was against the law.

The villagers alleged that torching of their houses, arbitrary arrests and forced eviction from their dwelling areas were against the law as their villages were officially registered.

According to a EACJ court clerk Boniface Ogutu, the complainants want the eviction order against them stopped until their main case was determined.

The villagers further alleged that the government was wrong in revoking land ownership from the four villages and that it also wrongly changed the land use of the said areas.

Ngorongoro district, particularly the Loliondo division, has been the center of land disputes from the 1990s pitting the nomadic pastoralists and the conservation agencies and the foreign investors.

At some point, the villagers have alleged their grazing land had been annexed by the government into game protected areas. Accusing fingers have also often been pointed at some foreign tourist hunting companies.

Only recently, agitated livestock keepers from Arusha region’s remote villages pleaded before President John Magufuli to intervene after their endless pleas had been downplayed by other officials.

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