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Villagers protest eviction plan on Lake NATRON shore

ENGARESERO villagers are up in arms against a proposed plan to evict them from the shores of Lake Natron.

Narrating their predicament to the Arusha Regional Commissioner, Mr Iddi Hassan Kimanta recently, the villagers claimed to have received reports of their removal from the 462 square kilometres stretch of land by the Tanzania Wildlife Management Authority (TAWA).

The area Ward Councillor, Mr Abraham Sakai told Mr Kimanta that TAWA had plans of upgrading the area into a Game Reserve, hence the reason of their eviction.

“Our land, the only place we have called home for a long time is about to be taken by TAWA…this is a major concern to all of us and will greatly affect our livelihoods,”  claimed Mr Sakai.

The Ward Councillor refuted claims that they were threatening the ecology of the area by grazing their livestock near the lake.

“We are part of the ecology, why should we destroy it when we depend on it for our survival,” he queried.

Echoing similar sentiments, a villager who has lived in the area since 1975, Mr Philemon Simande, wondered why wildlife was being valued at their expense, vowing to fight for their land at any cost.

“If anything, we’ve successfully managed to keep this place intact and conserved it,” he observed.

On his part, Mr Kimanta appealed to the irate Engareseo villagers to remain calm as he continues engaging the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism over the matter.

The Regional Commissioner told the villagers that his office was on the matter and further assured them that no one was going to be evacuated from the area.

In the same vein, he urged the villagers to shun some Non-Governmental Organisations , which have reportedly been inciting them over the issue.

Engaresero village is located on the southern side of the famous Lake Natron, a salt lake located in Northern Tanzania, close to the Kenyan border, in the eastern branch of the East African Rift Valley Escarpment.

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