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Images of distressed members of the Maasai community being forcibly moved from their homes, beaten and harassed by police and the army in northern Tanzania in June set social media alight with concern. Activists have since voiced their anger over land and human rights, and they have good reason to do so.

The Maasai live in Kenya and Tanzania. Traditionally nomadic pastoralists, many have now settled and diversified their livelihoods.

But they have long been on a collision course with government. This has been the case with both colonial and post-colonial governments. And it’s largely because they live in areas wanted by the administration for other uses. One of these is wildlife conservation – for it is (wrongly) believed that people cannot co-exist with wildlife.

In northern Tanzania, the government is trying to evict thousands of Maasai from the Ngorongoro and Loliondo region to make way for tourists, wildlife and big game hunting. These are lands in which people live alongside wildlife, and which border protected wildlife areas.

It’s a situation that’s all too familiar.

This article is republished from The Conversation Africa under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.