In Summary

They said they were confident the government would intervene and find a lasting solution to the crisis mainly pitting them with the foreign tourist companies and the conservation agencies.

Loliondo. Nomadic pastoralists in Loliondo have appealed to the newly-appointed Natural Resources and Tourism minister Hamis Kingwangala to visit them so as to get their side of the decades-old land conflict there.

They said they were confident the government would intervene and find a lasting solution to the crisis mainly pitting them with the foreign tourist companies and the conservation agencies.

The conflict has revolved on the Loliondo Game Controlled Area which borders the Serengeti National Park. The area has of late attracted a large human and livestock population.

"We are happy with the recent appointment of Dr. Kigangwala to the ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism", they said during a public meeting held on Wednesday at Ololosokwan village.

Yannick Ndoinyo, the Ololosokwan ward councillor argued that the new minister should listen to all the conflicting parties in order for the government to make informed decisions.

He affirmed that the livestock keepers in the area would not stop to fight for their ancestral land but do not want unnecessary confrontation with the government authorities.

Recently, there had been reports of alleged violation of human rights when 'bomas' belonging to the pastoralists were torched in Loliondo, heads of cattle confiscated and some herders arrested for grazing in protect6ed areas.

The councillor for Soitsambu,Boniphace Kanjwel, refuted reports that the traditional herders in Loliondo and the broader Maasailand were against conservation programmes.

The special seats councillor Ms Tina Timan also hit at government officials circulating information that Loliondo was predominantly inhabited by pastoralists from Kenya.

"There is no truth whatsoever in this. This is cheap propaganda aimed to distort the truth on the situation in Loliondo and problems facing us, "she affirmed.

An official of the ruling party CCM in the area Saibulu Letama stressed that livestock keeping was a key livulihood of thousands of families like any other economic activity and that cattle herders should not be harassed.

During a recent eviction exercise carried by the security forces against pastoralists alleged to have settled illegally inside or on the fringes of Serengeti NP, some 463 homes were torched.

Over a thousand of cattle heads were seized of which 300 died for lack of pastures and water, 618 taken over and auctioned by the government and 590 still detained at the holding grounds.