Where are the missing 380 people? Tanzanian MPs ask government

Saturday May 05 2018

ACT-Wazalendo party leader and MP for Kigoma Urban, Zitto Kabwe. The legislator says the manner in which security crackdown was conducted in Mkiru breached the country’s laws and human rights. PHOTO FILE | NMG


Tanzania's opposition says that at least 380 people have been abducted and have disappeared in the past one year in a government crackdown against suspected Islamists on the Southern coastline.

The MPs say the campaigns are not conducted within the law and are characterised by human-rights violations, including torture and extrajudicial killings. They want parliament to form a team to investigate them.

ACT-Wazalendo party leader and MP for Kigoma Urban, Zitto Kabwe while contributing to the budget debate in parliament, cited a security crackdown conducted mainly in Mkiru (Mkuranga, Kibiti and Rufiji) about 140km from Dar es Salaam saying the manner in which it was conducted breached the country’s laws and human rights.

“The campaign was marred by human-rights violations,” he said. “Innocent citizens were killed by the police and many people have disappeared since they were taken in for questioning.”  

Mr Kabwe’s sentiments came nearly two weeks after an MP for Kilwa South, Suleiman Bungara of the Civic United Front (CUF) said in parliament that at least 10 people in his constituency had been picked up from a mosque by the police but some had not reappeared while others returned with their ears chopped off and their beards burnt.

The affected areas are Dar es Salaam, Tanga and Southern Tanzania towns of Lindi and Mtwara.


The security operation in Kibiti area is understood to have been launched after the spate of killings involving at least 11 local government leaders in the Coast region over months, in what analysts said was strategic elimination of people believed to have disclosed information about the suspected Islamists or their accomplices to the police.

The killings were followed by an incident in which 12 police officers were attacked and killed in April 2017.