AT the count of 132, stories of torture and use of excessive force among Tanzanians being deported from Mozambique are gaining currency and the government has pledged full investigations into their claims.
Speaking to journalists in Dar es Salaam yesterday, the Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Dr Suzan Kolimba, said the country’s Ambassador to Mozambique was working closely with Mozambican authorities to contain the situation.
“We have directed our ambassador to travel to (areas) where the exercise is being carried out to assess the situation,” she noted. According to the deputy minister, the ongoing operation that kicked off at Montepuez in northern Mozambique was not targeting Tanzanian nationals alone, but all foreigners living without proper documentation as provided for in the country’s immigration rules.
“We are also making diplomatic contact with our Mozambique counterparts to ensure maximum security of our people and their properties,” she said, adding that at least 3,000 Tanzanian nationals were engaged in various economic activities at Montepuez.
Dr Kolimba stated that 58 Tanzanians were deported from Mozambique on February 11, another 24 on February 14 - and yet another 50 who arrived back home yesterday, bringing to 132 the total number of deportees.
Dr Kolimba added Tanzanian authorities in Mozambique were currently working on allegations of torture, excessive force, confiscation of properties and mistreatment, which he said were voiced by some of Tanzanians (still) in Mozambique.
“Our embassy in Mozambique in collaboration with Mtwara Regional Commissioner (RC), immigration officials in the region and the Regional Crime Officer are working with the Mozambique government to substantiate the claims and determine the next course of action,” she said
“The government is in contact with Mozambique administration to ensure safety of Tanzanians and their properties during the operation.” Tanzania and Mozambique have had a long time bilateral cooperation and Dar says “the two countries will continue working together.”
“Recently, Tanzania and Mozambique held a ‘good neighbourhood’ meeting aimed at ensuring that the relations between the two countries remain intact,” the deputy minister stated.