Dar es Salaam. Clashes between farmers and pastoralists broke out this week in the district of Kilindi, in Tanga, leaving two injured, the government-owned HabariLeo newspaper reported Wednesday.
According to reports, farmers were protesting the destruction of their farms by pastoralists, a situation that escalated into violence leading to the two farmers – Saidi Mwanamagari and Omari – being injured and hospitalized at the district hospital.
Kilindi district commissioner Siriel Shaidi Mchembe confirmed to HabariLeo that the clashes erupted but no further information about the incident was shared with the public.
This, however, is not the first time that clashes between farmers and cattle herders occur in Kilindi.
In January this year, for instance, six people were reportedly killed in the Kibirashi village of the Kilindi district in the Tanga region, as herders armed with machetes, axes, swords, and guns clashed with farmers in a dispute highlighting a huge scramble for resources.
Twenty people were arrested in connection with the incident with the then Inspector-General of Police Simon Sirro describing what happened as “a very sad incident.”
“It saddens me to see that people still take law into their own hands,” Sirro, now Tanzania’s ambassador to Zimbabwe, told journalists then. “Everyone involved will be hunted down and severely punished in accordance with the law.”
Clashes between farmers and pastoralists in Kilindi also took place in 2014 with religious and traditional leaders then urging the government to make early interventions to prevent the clashes from happening again.
But Kilindi also is not the only place in Tanzania that has experienced the worst of farmers-pastorialists clashes.
Clashes have also been reported in Pwani and Kilimanjaro regions where violent and sometimes deadly clashes have been raging for decades as farmers and pastoralists scramble for resources.
On January 12, 2014, for instance, 10 people were killed in Kiteto district in central Tanzania when Maasai pastoralists allegedly invaded villages in the disputed Embroi Murtangosi forest reserve and set homes ablaze.
A number of reasons have been given for the endless clashes between farmers and pastoralists in Tanzania that the government has been struggling with for some time now.
Adam Malima, then Tanga regional commissioner, for example, told Anadolu Agency in February this year that the root cause of the clashes is drought.
A 2018 study into the forms and drivers of the clashes identified four main drivers underlying resource use conflicts in Tanzania.
These are crop damage by livestock; inefficiency of government officials in taking action to diffuse conflicts; excessively large herds of cattle; and corruption.
Researchers recommended that pastoralists should be provided with essential services such as water in order to minimize the movement of their livestock herds from their designated villages to other areas in search of water.
Researchers believe that this would, in the long run, minimise crop damage which has been a major source of conflict.