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Kenyan Trader ‘forced to buy’ freedom from Tanzanian cops

By Linah Benyawa | June 23rd 2016

A Mombasa businessman is seeking justice from the Tanzanian government for allegedly being illegally detained for eight days.

Ibrahim Nassor Issa, 55, accused of funding criminal gangs in Tanzania, has lodged complaints with the country’s consulate in Mombasa.

He said Tanzanian police officers arrested him from his hotel room on June 5. The businessman was at Amboni Tanga to renovate a mosque.

Mr Issa claimed he bought his freedom by bribing the officers. “At around 2am on the fateful night, I had heavy bangs on the door and upon opening, there were more than 10 armed officers who ordered me to lie down.

They drove me and other occupants from the hotel to the police station. I was questioned why I was in the country and accused of funding some criminal gangs,” said Issa.

He said the officers took from him Sh20, 000.

“While at the cells, they questioned why I was in Tanga and if I was funding criminals. Despite telling them I have a family there, and was renovating a mosque, which the provincial commissioner was aware of, they still detained me,” he claimed.

His detention sparked reactions, with human rights activists claiming that many Kenyans were being harassed and mistreated in Tanzania. They asked the Kenyan Government to ensure legal action was taken against the officers.

“We have heard similar cases from Tanzania. We have also fallen victim of harassment at the border where we are forcibly given a yellow fever jab, despite documents showing that we had been given the jab in Kenya. The excuse given is that Kenyan vaccines are fake,” said Haki Africa human rights coordinator Francis Auma.

Issa said he had been visiting Tanga every weekend since he got involved in the renovation of the mosque, and also donated dates to worshippers at the mosque.

After being detained for eight days, he was released on June 13 after a Tanzanian woman known to him explained that she was aware of his visit, and that he was her relative. He was ordered to report to the station on June 15.

“On reporting, the officers demanded Sh125, 000 or I be taken to court. I bought my freedom,” he claimed.

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