Mursi celebrate withdrawal of conservation organisation from their land

January 4, 2008

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Mursi tribal people living in and around the Omo National Park in Ethiopia are celebrating the withdrawal of conservation organisation African Parks from their land.

The decision by African Parks (formerly Africa Parks Foundation) to terminate their agreement with the Ethiopian government to manage the Omo Park was announced in December, and was greeted with joy and relief by many Mursi.

One Mursi, Ulijarholi, says, ‘Now that African Parks are leaving, everything is well. Our cattle will graze along with the Dik-Diks, Zebra and Warthogs. If our land is taken, it is like taking our lives.’ 

Another Mursi, Uligidangit, adds, 'Now I am very happy. We don't worry about them stealing our land anymore. We can relax and live our lives'.

Survival had repeatedly raised concerns with African Parks about its failure to consult and involve the Mursi and other tribes in its management plans, and its ban on the tribes hunting and cultivating inside the Omo Park.

Survival also received recent reports that African Parks had evicted some Kwegu, a small tribe of hunter-gatherers, from their land in the park.

BBC presenter Bruce Parry visited several neighbouring tribes in the Omo Valley for his hit TV show Tribe.