25 December 2013

Tanzania: Invaders Settle in Conserved Forest

INVADERS who have occupied a natural forest that has been the home of Hadzabe people in Singida Region have been advised to move out of the forest immediately.

The illegal occupiers are in Kipamba-Munguli village in Hadzabe territory. The occupiers are now believed to be contributing money so they send representatives to see government leaders in high authority.

Mkalama District Commissioner Edward ole Lenga ordered the invaders out when addressing villagers on illegal migration. The invaders, he said, are occupying a conserved forest, a portion of which has been parceled out to Watindiga people (the Hadzabe).

Mr Lenga said that his office has information that invaders now collect 50,000/- from each individual to fight eviction. The DC advised the invaders to move out of the conserved forest voluntarily, short of which they will be arrested and prosecuted over illegal occupation of a concerved area.

He said that their effort to seek help from higher authorities will not work in their favour. Mr Lenga said that the government will not tolerate seeing the invaders felling trees and burning the forest to clear patches of land for agriculture and livestock rearing.

He added that invaders who will refuse to move out of the forest will be arrested and relocated. Kipamba-Munguli forest, which is located 120 kilometres north east of the municipality of Singida, is home to Hadzabe people.

The Wahadzabe subsist on wild fruits, tubers, leaves, honey and meat. The Hadzabe are increasingly experiencing shortage of food due to forest clearing, especially the felling of baobab trees.

The invaders have cleared huge tracts of the forest intent on establishing farms, creating pastureland and building homes. The Hadzabe, who are also disparagingly known in the parlance historians as Bushmen, can be hostile to invaders.

The population of the endangered Hadzabe stands at less than 5,000 individuals at the moment. Apart from Kipamba-Munguli, the Hadazabe are believed to have been living in the remote Yaeda valley for almost 100,000 years relying on baobab trees for both food and shelter.

Some historians consider them to be the last hunter gatherer society left in Africa, their lifestyle unchanged for millennia. The Hadzabe, who are also known as Tindiga, possess a thrilling 'click' language and uncanny hunting skills.

They use bows and arrows in hunting. Invaders who are now worring both the Hadzabe and the government are believed to be Wasukuma, Wairaq (Wambulu) and other tribal settings in the vicinity of the forest.

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