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MPs, journalits in court over North Mara dispute

Daily News (Tanzania)
May 24th, 2011

SINGIDA East Member of Parliament Tundu Antipas Lissu (Chadema) along with seven other people on Tuesday appeared before Tarime District Court in Mara Region, charged with instigating people to cause violence.

"The suspects were taken to court where they are facing several charges including inciting people to cause breach of peace," Commissioner of Police, Paul Chagonja, told the 'Daily News.'

He said the accused persons, who included four journalists, were remanded after failing to meet bail conditions.

Tarime-Rorya Special Zone Police Commander, Constatine Massawe, said earlier on Tuesday that the suspects were arrested at Nyakunguru village in Tarime District.

He said Lissu, who is a lawyer and Chief Whip for Official Opposition in Parliament, along with other accused persons had allegedly been causing trouble in the area.

Mr Massawe said the accused had allegedly asked relatives of four people who were killed by police in the May 16, riots at the North Mara Gold Mine (NMGM) not to collect bodies of the deceased.

On May 16, over 1,000 people, who were armed with machettes, clubs and sticks, invaded NMGM in an attempt to steal mined sand and other property belonging to the mine owned by African Barrick Gold (ABG) -- a London listed global mining giant.

During the clashes with police and guards at the mine five people were shot dead.

He named the journalists as Mabere Makubi (Channel Ten), Anna Mroso (Nipashe), Berdina Nyakeke (The Citizen) and Anthony Mayunga (Mwananchi).

Other accused persons, according to Mr Massawe, are Esther Matiko (Special Seats MP - Chadema), Mwita Waitara (Chadema Member) and Charles Ndesi (Councillor - Chadema).

Mr Massawe said the accused had been asking the bereaved families to boycott collection of bodies of Emmanuel Magige, Chacha Ngoka, Mwikabe Marwa and Chawali Bhoke for burial.

However, reports from Tarime had it that unknown people collected the bodies from hospital on Monday night and took them to unknown places.

In another development, Arusha Urban MP, Mr Godbless Lema, has condemned the arrest of MPs, journalists and politicians, describing the move as "inhuman."

Mr Lema, who is Shadow Minister for Home Affairs, said he believed that the police had stolen corpses from the mortuary in Tarime.

"The Police in Mara Region have breached human rights by shooting five people to death and later stole dead bodies from the mortuary," he said.

He called for immediate release of the arrested politicians and journalists.

 

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