Responding to reports of the arrest of 39 members of the Maasai community and parliamentarian Emmanuel Lekishon Shangai in Endulen in Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Conservation Area, and their unlawful detention in unknown locations without access to their lawyers, Amnesty International Regional Director for East and Southern Africa Tigere Chagutah said:
“Tanzanian authorities must end this new wave of arrests and detentions, which constitute renewed repression against the Maasai Indigenous Community that is standing up for their rights to their ancestral lands and essential services such as schools, health facilities and water projects in Ngorongoro.”
Tanzanian authorities must end this new wave of arrests and detentions, which constitute renewed repression against the Maasai Indigenous Community that is standing up for their rights to their ancestral lands.Tigere Chagutah, Amnesty Interational's Regional Director for East and Southern Africa
“We call on the government to immediately disclose the whereabouts of the 40 arrested community members, grant them access to their lawyers, and due process, including being promptly brought before court to challenge the legality of their detention.”
“The latest security operation comes against a backdrop of threats to forcibly evict the Indigenous Maasai from their ancestral lands in Ngorongoro in a dispute that has lasted over a decade.”
We call on the government to immediately disclose the whereabouts of the 40 arrested community membersTigere Chagutah
“The Maasai live in fear of being forcibly evicted from Ngorongoro to make way for a game reserve and a protected conservation area on which they have not been consulted or given free prior and informed consent.”
On 15 August 2023, members of the Maasai community gathered at Endulen Market to address what they believe to be the government’s use of the media to achieve its aim of persuading them to leave the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. After community members chased journalists away from the meeting, security forces including the police and Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA) rangers began targeting the Maasai community. Since 16 August, 39 Maasai have been arrested and held in unknown places.
On 21 August 2023, Ngorongoro MP Emmanuel Lekishon Shangai was arrested by Tanzanian police and NCAA rangers at his home in Karatu then moved to Karatu Police Station for interrogation about his calls for accountability for the security operation in Ngorongoro. He was subsequently moved to an unknown location.
On 6 June 2023, Amnesty International published a report highlighting the ill-treatment, excessive use of force, arbitrary arrests and detentions, and forced evictions of members of the Maasai Indigenous community in Loliondo which is part of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.