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Maasai Held Up After Peasants, Pastoralists Clash

By Giviniwa Paul, TOMRIC News Agency (Dar es Salaam), 6 July 2001

Dar Es Salaam - Suspects in a clash between peasants and pastoralists that left over 11 people badly injured last week have been remanded custody.

The clash over land between Maasai and farmers occurred last week in Coast Region and since then about ten suspects were being held by police.

The suspects, most of them young Maasai (Morani) are charged with assaulting 11 people, but they have denied the charge and have been remanded in custody after failing to meet bail condition.

Police reports in the region which is few kilometers from Dar Es Salaam, said yesterday that the suspects would appear in court after two weeks when the case would come for another mention.

The police said here that more people were expected to be joined in the case after Maasai elders submit more names to the police in the region. The pastoralists and farmers clashed last weekend over a long-standing dispute on grazing land leaving over 11 seriously injured.

About 10 pastoralists were held in police custody after they were suspected to have participated in the clash as reports said that the armed Maasai had ordered farmers to vacate the land for them to use for animals grazing.

The Coast Regional Police Commander, Eliyuko Elibariki told the press thereafter that the clash was for land use between them, as Maasai people wanted farmers to vacate the area.

The clash between peasants and Maasai, analysts say, is just a tip of the iceberg, which suggest durable measures. Few months ago tension between the Maasai and villagers in Kilosa District in Morogoro Region also in Coast Tanzania, erupted into fighting, leaving 31 people died. Police seized five shotgun, three rifles and 52 rounds of ammunition.