Malawi Police in northern border district of Karonga on Wednesday, 21st of December 2016 arrested 8 Tanzanian nationals for entering the country without traveling documents who were heading to Kayerekera Uranium mine site. Karonga police deputy spokesperson George Mlewa said the arrest comes after a tip-off from some residents. The Karonga deputy police spokesperson said the group will appear before the court soon to answer the charges of criminal trespass which is contrary to section 314 of the penal code but said the case may change according to the evidence gathered through the investigation. But on the 22nd of December Malawian medias reported the eight Tanzanians were arrested while trying to illegally enter a uranium mine in the neighboring country. The Malawian media recently suggested that the eight were spies sent by the Tanzanian government to investigate if the country “is developing nuclear weapons from uranium at Kayerekera mine site in Karonga District”.
On 29th of December two senior security personnel were from Kasumulu Immigration office in the republic of Tanzania. On Wednesday visited Malawi through Karonga district to inquire about the eight arrested Tanzanian nationals at Kayerekera Uranium mine site in Malawi. “They said their aim of the visit was to inquire about the eight arrested Tanzanian nationals at Kayerekera mine site and that to know their agenda” said Shaibu. According to Shaibu, the Officer in Charge (OC) for Songwe border Immigration office Billy Chizimu told his counterparts that the eight Tanzanian nationals were arrested on the charges of criminal trespass and not as spies. Chizimu also told the two senior security personnel to educate their people to follow right procedures when visiting the Kayerekera mine site for safety and security reasons. As the eight suspects are remanded at the Mzuzu prison, there is a hot debate among the Karonga residents as well as Malawians especially on why the group wanted to visit the mine site.
Bishop Martin Mtumbuka of the Karonga Diocese in the Catholic Church claims the eight were his visitors but were misled by some people to visit the mine site without his knowledge. Some media locally soon provided information that allegedly Tanzanians 8 are spies of the Government of Tanzania have been arrested in Malawi on charges of entering the uranium mine of Kayerekera prevailing in Malawi illegally. The report was first released to the media of Malawi who argued that they were sent by the Government of Tanzania to investigate whether the Government of Malawi is making nuclear weapons using uranium from the mine.
Following these reports, the Ministry through the Embassy of Tanzania in Malawi monitored to determine the truth of the incident. After the track was found to be true Tanzanians 8 from the CARITAS institution under the Catholic Church Songea in Ruvuma were arrested by security forces in the district of Karonga which borders Kyela District. Tanzanians once they opened the case on suspicion of making a criminal offense of entering the area of the mine without a permit (criminal Trespass).
The Embassy contacted CARITAS Institute of wanting to know the purpose of these people make a visit to Malawi. The Embassy stated that the visit was a training where they want to know about the negative impacts of uranium mining. Tanzanians are currently in Mzuzu Central Prison until their case is stated again on January 4, 2017. The Embassy continues to make contact with the Catholic Church Songea to get more details about the visit of the people for the purpose of submitting the relevant authorities so that they can release suspects. In addition, the Ministry through the Embassy revealed that CARITAS allowed these people to visit Malawi without getting approval from the relevant authorities and would notify the Office of the Embassy of the visit.
In addition, the course of the visit to Malawi was not ripe to be servants of the Government of Malawi are at an annual vacation starting on 22 December to 3 January 2017. This is hampering efforts to pursue those people as well and stuck to requests approval to visit men on 28 December 2016. Ministry calls once again for religious institutions, educational institutions and individuals to apply for permits and follow the laws of other countries are doing fieldwork or visit others including contact offices Embassies directed to be informed of the procedures that should be followed before making visits to avoid disruption relevant thereto.
The ministry, through the Embassy of Tanzania in Malawi continue efforts to ensure that it struggles for attention with quick solutions.
- Government Communications Unit,
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the South East
- Dar es Salaam, 29 December 2016.
For the moment situation of these Tanzania 8 arrest have become a political issue Malawi now a making as a leverage point or bargaining tool for the Tanzania_and Malawi because of the issue of Northern said on lake nyansa (lake Malawi as in Malawi known).
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we are very concerned about the health of the people living in the so-called “Bahi Swamp”, a vast area ca. 60km West of Dodoma, Tanzania’s capital. The area is extremely fruitful and serves as grassland for cattle as well as a water resource for the ongoingfarming activities.
Recently, we have heard various reports by the people from the villages in the Swamp on health problems they are suffering. Different women,men and children that have come into contact with water from the exploration area aresuffering from eye and skin diseases, some that have drunkenthe water have felt sick immediately afterwards. We assume that this is due to the drilling activities undertaken by some uranium exploration companies in a certain area of the Swamp last summer. Because the drilling holes with diameters of roughly 20cm have not been closed, the water flooding the Swamp in the rainy season might have been polluted by chemicals used for the drilling.