The Tanzania Times
Eastern Africa News Network

Some 2000 Loliondo Villagers still ‘refugees’ in Kenya

A fact-finding mission dispatched to Loliondo to ascertain the surviving condition of local residents, reports that there are 2000 villagers who fled to Kenya and have not returned.

Made up of a delegation from the Legal and Human Rights Commission (LHRC) as well as the Civic and Legal Aid Organization (CILAO), the mission interviewed a number of residents in the Loliondo and Sale Divisions of Ngorongoro.

Residents of Loliondo and Sale, described their predicaments regarding their lives, within the twelve months after they were forbidden from venturing into their former residential areas that have been turned into a game reserve.

“For many of them it was forced eviction being marked with series of violence episodes that compelled some of them to lead a mass exodus across the border into the neighboring country and these have not yet returned, fearing retributions,” revealed Charles Odero, the Director of the Civic and Legal Aid Organization.

Loliondo is located at the border between Kenya and Tanzania. Many residents who fled from the area found themselves in Narok.

Addressing journalists in Arusha, the CILAO director pointed out that lives in the two divisions of Sale and Loliondo haven’t been easy after being chucked out of their communal land.

Afterwards several legal suits were filed at courts of law in protest of the new developments in the formerly Game Controlled Area as well as demanding the explanation of some people feared lost or killed during the June 2022 evictions.

According to Mr Odero, the family of Oriais Ole Ng’iyo still grieves the loss of the 85-year-old resident of Engong’u Nairowa area in the Oloolosokwan Ward of Loliondo Division in Ngorongoro District, who went missing in 2022 during the chaos that erupted in the area.

The other previously unreported sad incident, according to the fact-finding team, is the alleged case of an innocent baby who was pressed to death, when a group of women fleeing from soldiers stormed into a house in which the cherub was sleeping and fell onto him.

In other concerns, the residents of the two wards of Sale and Loliondo, especially pastoralists, complained of the lack of grazing pastures because much of the land previously used for the purposes has been girded off from public use.

The 1500 square kilometres of land has since been upgraded into the new Pololeti Game Reserve in Loliondo.

But unlike other Game Reserves, that operate under the Tanzania Wildlife Management Authority, Pololeti is managed under the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.

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