DAR ES SALAAM, July 12 (Xinhua) -- Tanzanian authorities on Sunday submitted a list of 920 villages allowed to remain within protected areas and reserves for wildlife and forests across the nation, said a statement by the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Human Settlements Development.
The list of 920 villages was submitted to regional and district commissioners by the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Human Settlements Development, Mary Makondo, in the capital Dodoma, said the statement.
The submission of the list to the regional and district authorities was aimed at ending a long-time land dispute between villages located near or within protected areas and reserves for wildlife and forests and conservation authorities, said the statement.
The submission of the list to regional and district commissioners was intended to enable them to identify the 920 villages and give them support and protection, said William Lukuvi, the Minister for Lands, Housing and Human Settlements Development.
"For quite a long time, villagers residing within protected and reserve areas had been subjected to harassment by conservation authorities, including burning of their houses and destroying their farms in the name of conservation," said Lukuvi.
On September 23, 2019, the government endorsed the annulment of 12 protected areas and seven reserves for wildlife and forests and allocated them to the 920 villages for habitation.
A statement by the Prime Minister's Office said the annulled protected areas and reserves that covered a total of about 707,660 hectares will be allocated to people for settlements, farming and livestock keeping.
In January 2019, President John Magufuli ordered relevant authorities to suspend removal of 366 villages situated in protected areas for wildlife and forests.
President Magufuli also directed responsible ministries to identify wildlife and forests protected areas which had no wildlife and forests and allocate them to farmers and livestock keepers.
About 40 percent of land in Tanzania is set aside in protected areas for conservation. Enditem