Tanzanian Maasai herders that were arrested early last month during violent clashes with security forces over a land dispute with the government have been charged with murder.
The 25 suspects had been part of the protests against the eviction of their community from their ancestral land in Loliondo in the northern Ngorongoro district.
The suspects, including the ruling party CCM’s Ngorongoro district chairman and ward councillors, appeared on Thursday before a magistrates’ court in the northern town of Arusha.
They all faced a second charge of attempted murder. They have not yet taken a plea on the charges.
The prosecution alleges that the Maasai people attacked security forces demarcating land in the area and speared a police officer who later died of injuries.
Resident Magistrate Herieth Mhenga adjourned the case to 14 July as police investigations continue.
A group of 15 lawyers is representing the accused.
Tanzania’s government leased Loliondo division in 1992 as a hunting block to a company based in the United Arab Emirates.
Attempts to relocate the Maasai from the 1,500 sq km (580 sq miles) protected area since 2009 have faced local and international pressure.
The government argues that the community will still have access to 2,500 sq km of land in the area.
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