Dar es Salaam. Good morning! The Chanzo is here with a rundown of major news stories reported in Tanzania on Wednesday, March 15, 2023.
Right groups demand inquest into death of Muslim cleric who died in remand prison facing terrorism charges
The saga surrounding the death of a Muslim cleric Sheikh Said Mohammed Ulatule, who died while in remand prison facing charges of terrorism, took a new twist on Wednesday after the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) and the Council of Islamic Organisations in Tanzania demanded an inquest into the incident.
Ulatule, 80, died on March 4, 2023, at the Ukonga Maximum Security Prison. He and his cohort were transferred from the Segerea Prison. They were remanded since 2016 for terrorism charges brought against him and six other members of the Ulatule family.
Others in the case are 96-year-old Suleiman (Mohammed) Abdallah Ulatule, 75-year-old Ali Mohammed Ulatule, 67-year-old Khamisi Mohammed Ulatule, 43-year-old Nassoro Abdallah Ulatule, 32-year-old Rajabu Ali Ulatule, and 27-year-old Ramadhani Khamisi.
The news of the death of Sheikh Said Mohamed Ulatule was first broken by the Secretary of the Council of Islamic Organisations in Tanzania, Sheikh Issa Ponda, on March 7, 2023, where he reported that the cleric died before a judge while explaining the misfortunes the clerics accused of terrorism were facing in prison.
A judge had visited the inmates at the Ukonga Maximum Security Prison to listen to their tribulations when the cleric reportedly fell after trying to inform the judge of what was happening in prison.
On March 10, 2023, the Commissioner General of Prisons (CGP) Ramadhan Nyamka was quoted as saying that the deceased cleric had suffered blood pressure for a long time since he was remanded.
“The last time he attended the clinic for medication was in December 2022,” Nyamka said. “[His] was a natural death. He had historical illnesses that post-mortem investigation confirmed to be the cause of his death.”
But LHRC Executive Director Anna Henga told journalists during a press conference on Wednesday that Nyamka’s explanation conflicted with those from people who knew Sheikh Said Mohamed Ulatule.
“We, therefore, call for an inquest to be conducted that will establish the source of Sheikh Said Mohamed Ulatule’s death,” Henga said during a press conference at LHRC’s headquarters. “The arrangement should also be extended to all the people who died in the hands of security organs.”
The Ulatules were arrested in a 2015 police operation in Mkuranga, Pwani region, after law enforcers accused the family of organising and leading a “terrorist network” that saw its members storming police stations, stealing weapons, and “committing murders.”
Full story here.
Over 2,000 Congolese refugees have arrived in Tanzania for asylum as conflict in North Kivu rages
A total of 2,643 refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have arrived in Kigoma seeking refuge as unrest in the northern region of Kivu continues unabated, it was revealed on Wednesday.
The armed conflict between the non-state armed actor M23 and the Congolese army (FARDC) has been ongoing for some time, creating massive displacement, with at least 262,000 people have fled their homes since March 2022, when the fighting started.
Speaking to journalists in Kigoma, the Regional Coordinator, Department of Refugee Services from the Ministry of Home Affairs Nashon Makundi said that on March 10, 2023, the number of refugees who entered Tanzania was between 300 and 600 people. By March 14, they had received a total of 2,643 people.
Most of the refugees received are women and children. Local authorities say receiving and registering them is ongoing for 24 hours to ensure they are all identified and registered in the camp.
The refugees began entering Tanzania through the Kigoma region on March 5, while others entered between September 2022 and January 2023 and sought refuge in the Nyarugusu Refugee Camp and its surrounding areas.
According to the UNHCR-Tanzania, as of January 2022, Tanzania hosts over 246,000 refugees and asylum-seekers, mainly from Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Of these, 83 per cent live in the Ndutu, and Nyarugusu refugee camps in the northwestern region of Kigoma, the United Nations agency mandated to aid and protect refugees says.
TANAPA, TAWIRI team up to locate Lion Joel after the death of sibling Bob Junior
The Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) Conservation Commissioner, William Mwakilema, said Wednesday that the agency is partnering with Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI) as it seeks to keep track of Joel the Lion following the death of its sibling and photogenic brother 12-year-old lion Bob Junior.
Bob Junior was reportedly killed by his younger rivals in the jungle. Mr Mwakilema told reporters in Arusha that plans were underway between the two agencies to start tracking Joel, who fled after the death of Bob Junior, who is also revered as the King of Serengeti.
If found dead, Mr Mwakilema said they would collect Joel’s remains to prepare, stuff, and mount its skins, a process commonly referred to as Taxidermy.
“We would have wished to do the same with Bob Junior, but we weren’t so lucky because we couldn’t locate its remains and probably got eaten up by hyenas,” the government-owned Daily News newspaper quoted Mr Mwakilema as saying.
Preserving Joel’s body would leave behind a lasting legacy and memory of the two brothers which ruled a pride in the rocky Kopjes of Namiri short plains in Eastern Serengeti, the conservationist said.
The siblings were both big in size and attracted the attention of many who visited Serengeti National Park.
They were first spotted together in 2010 and have since formed an unbreakable bond, Mwakilema said, adding: “They lived together for 12 years in Eastern Serengeti since they spotted.”
South Africa’s FlySafair spreads its wings to Zanzibar starting in April
South African low-cost carrier FlySafair, announced a service to Zanzibar starting in April, its second scheduled flight outside South Africa after Mauritius, the carrier announced Wednesday in a statement.
Bookings for the route that starts April 8 with a same-day return, and will initially operate once a week, went live on March 13.
Chief Marketing Officer Kirby Gordon stated that the carrier operates a fleet of five 737-400s and 25 -800s. It says a second flight to operate on weekdays could be added to the schedule later. It also announced a third flight to Mauritius starting this month.
“Zanzibar is one of Africa’s most beautiful island destinations,” Kirby said. “This, along with the success we have seen flying to Mauritius, and the demand for our chartered flights to Zanzibar, were key players in our decision to add this route to our schedule.”
The carrier says the service to Zanzibar marks the beginning of a year of growth for the airline that plans to add more regional routes to the schedule, “along with more aircraft to their fleet in the coming months,” as Kirby put it.
In October, the Air Services Licensing Council of South Africa approved the carrier’s application to operate flights to ten new destinations, including services from Cape Town and Johannesburg to Gaborone, Livingstone, Luanda, Lusaka, Maputo, and Victoria Falls.
Others are Johannesburg to Bulawayo, Nairobi, Seychelles, and Cape Town to Windhoek. Given the ongoing weakness of the national carrier, South African Airways, allowing other national carriers access to international markets makes sense.
“After nearly three years of limited travel, South Africans are once again eager to spread their local and regional wings,” Kirby noted. “We are so thrilled to be able to grow our services to meet the needs of our consumers.”
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