Loliondo is Burning

by September 12, 2009

Loliondo is Burning provides documentary evidence, testimony, and background information surrounding the recent eviction of Massai in Loliondo, northern Tanzania. This is a two-part video.

In July 2009, during one of the worst droughts in recent Tanzanian history, the government of Tanzania began to forcefully evict the Maasai from their traditional lands. Eight villages were burnt to the ground, along with crops and traditional places of worship. As a result, some 3,000 people were left without any shelter, food or water.

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As Loliondo is Burning explains, the evictions were carried out on behalf of the Ortello Business Company (OBC) and the Royal Family of Dubai, who claim the Maasai land as their own. Employees of OBC reportedly took part in the eviction.

Several abuses were also reported to have taken place, including the rape of Masaai women. Overall,

  • More than 200 bomas (homesteads of extended families) have been totally burnt.
  • Food stores and maize fields have been burned.
  • It is estimated that up to 3,000 people have been made homeless without food and shelter.
  • Several maize farms, which were ready for harvest, were set ablaze exacerbating an already alarming hunger situation.
  • More than 50,000 cattle have been pushed into areas hit by extreme drought with no water and grass. Some cattle have been lost and some burned to death.
  • Property worth millions of Tanzania Shillings has been destroyed.
  • Other women who were chased from their homes have had miscarriages.
  • Many people are now suffering from psychological traumas.

It should be noted that the eviction is ongoing. Other burnings have reportedly taken place since July. Further, more than two dozen Maasai have been arrested, some as recent as 7 days ago.

More information

For more information on the current situation, please read the report “Gross violations of human and citizenship rights in Tanzania” by the Feminist Activist Coalition. You may also want to see:

What You Can Do

If you would like to speak out in support of the Masaai, send an email to:

  • President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, United Republic of Tanzania – State House Luthuli Road, Box 9120, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania 00 255 22 2 116 898 / 22 2 116 899 00 255 22 2 113 425
  • Private Secretary to Mizengo Pinda, Prime Minister of Tanzania, Email:;
  • Mr. Yacoub El Hillo, UNHCR Representative to Tanzania,
  • Tanzanian Embassy in your country:

Thanks to Derek Wall for his reporting on Another Green World

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