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US cautions gays on Tanzania travel

Wednesday December 04 2019
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The US State Department on December 3, 2019 urged travellers to Tanzania to “exercise increased caution” due in part to threats that gay people may experience there. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By DAILY NATION

The US State Department on Tuesday urged travellers to Tanzania to “exercise increased caution” due in part to threats that gay people may experience there.

The advisory comes as another indication that the Trump administration is not abandoning the Obama-era practice of speaking out on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex Africans.

“Members of the LGBTI community have been arrested, targeted, harassed, and/or charged with unrelated offenses,” the State Department said in an updated advisory on travel to Tanzania.

“Individuals detained under suspicion of same-sex sexual conduct could be subject to forced anal examinations.”

The advisory comes about a year after Paul Makonda, regional commissioner of Dar es Salaam and an ally of President John Magufuli, announced last year that a newly formed surveillance squad would scrutinise social media in order to identify and arrest same-sex couples.

Additionally, the advisory also warns that “terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Tanzania” in a addition to prevalence of violent crimes.

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"Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting embassies, police stations, mosques, and other places frequented by Westerners," it said.

The US had issued a Tanzania travel warning in September that focused on an alleged case of Ebola. Government officials, however, subsequently denied that the disease was present in the country, and the new State Department advisory makes no mention of Ebola.

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