Over 600 pastoralists and farmers in Mbuzi Village, Kambikatoto Ward, in Chunya District have been rendered homeless after 200 households were destroyed by the district administration.
The homes were razed on grounds that the villagers had settled on a reserved area.
Operation to remove the herders and the farmers was led by the Chunya District Commissioner, Ms Rehema Madusa, in the company of District Defence and Security Committee and the Tanzania Forest Service (TFS) official.
Ms Madusa said there was no option but to use force to evict the invaders because they had refused to vacate voluntarily.
Operation that was launched on Saturday October 7 with the aim of ensuring that reserved areas were protected.
Ms Madusa also directed defence and security organs to arrest the chairperson of Kipambawe Division, (name withheld), for allegedly collecting Sh70,000 from every household on claim that the cash was being sent to the government so that they should not be kicked out of the reserved areas, something that was untrue.
The district's TFS Manager, Ms Grace Willy, explained that the operation was part of the implementation of the government's directive to ensure forestry resources were protected from environmental destruction.
"This is a sustainable operation as we are going to carry it out in all reserved areas because agricultural activities and grazing have greatly affected our reserved areas. The challenge has also been to village leaders allocating areas haphazardly to farmers and pastoralists. Now, we will not tolerate this and if it keeps escalating a legal action must be taken, "said Ms Grace.
The Kambikatoto Ward Executive Officer, Mr Nicolaus Ndugusa, said previously, when the government ordered the farmers and the herders to get out of the reserved areas, they first educated them.
"But they continued to return after short while because no stringent measures were taken against them," he said.
A farmer who doubles as a herder, Ms Leah Kuba from Shinyanga Region asked the government to intervene and arrest their chairman (name withheld) so that they could get their money back.
A pastoralist, Mr Hassan Juma, said they had contributed over Sh2 million and handed it over to their chairman, who in turn told them he would present it to the DC so that they could remain in the reserved area.