Dar es Salaam. Tanzania announced Friday that its citizen held by the militant group Hamas in occupied Palestine has died, describing the news as “deeply saddening.”
Clemence Felix Mtenga was one of the two Tanzanian nationals who were among several people taken hostage by Hamas during its October 7, 2023, attack, which killed around 1,200 people.
Mtenga and his compatriot Joshua Loitu Mollel were in Israel as a part of an agricultural internship program.
The two were part of a group of 260 Tanzanians who were in Israel to attend practical training on modern agriculture under the Tanzania-Israel cooperation framework.
In its statement on Friday, Tanzania’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the government has informed Mtenga’s family about the death of its loved one, adding that plans are underway to bring the body to Tanzania.
“We are communicating with the Israeli government to ensure we receive the body and bring it to Tanzania for burial,” the statement said. “We send our deepest condolences to Mtenga’s family, relatives, friends and Tanzanians generally.”
It is now more than one month since Palestinian gunmen carried out an attack on towns, kibbutzim, and military bases in southern Israel, killing Israeli civilians, including women and children, in residential areas and at a music festival.
Israeli authorities say that Palestinian groups took more than 240 people captive during the attack, including Israeli soldiers and civilians, as well as people from numerous foreign countries.
Israel has responded by cutting off access to food, electricity, and fuel for the more than 2.3 million residents of the Gaza Strip and has pounded the area with a relentless bombing campaign.
Non-stop Israeli air raids have levelled entire neighbourhoods, displaced more than 70 per cent of Gaza’s inhabitants, and killed 11,078 people, according to Palestinian authorities.
The United Nations has said that Israel’s attacks on Gaza amount to collective punishment of a population with few options for seeking safe haven, and humanitarian conditions in the strip have grown increasingly dire.
Tanzania’s government has said that it works closely with Israeli authorities to ensure the safety of Tanzanian nationals working and studying in the Middle Eastern nation.